Recall Petitions Delivered to Registrar of Voters Before Deadline

Led by recall campaign leaders Belden Batiste and Eileen Carter, ten boxes of petitions believed to be signed by valid Orleans Parish registered voters who want to force a vote on Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s future were delivered to Registrar of Voters Dr. Sandra Wilson Wednesday afternoon (February 22) less than an hour prior to the deadline. had been working for six months to gather the signatures needed. A small group of enthusiastic volunteers including Philip and Mary Gabala, Annette Cranford-Hamilton, Amy Misko, Michelle Schafley and Gary Ballier cheered when the Recall van arrived. Along with Batiste and Carter the group quickly carried the boxes into City Hall to Wilson. Batiste and Carter refused to announce exactly how many petitions were submitted but had issued a statement on February 20 that they had gathered an adequate number. 

Recall officials recently sued Wilson in Civil District Court demanding that the registrar produce an accurate, updated list of individuals currently eligible to vote in Orleans Parish. Recall demographic experts believe there are approximately 25,000 inactive voters on the rolls due to death, relocation out of parish/state, or because they have not voted in at least a decade. They are asking these voters to be removed from the rolls. If their assumption is correct, the total number of signatures needed could be reduced by several thousand which would make meeting the 20 percent threshold much easier. The case will be heard Monday, February 27. 

With the help of her small staff, Wilson has 20 business days to certify the petitions. If Wilson agrees that the minimum threshold of signatures needed has been met, Governor John Bel Edwards must place the election on the ballot. Carter said that the group will ask Edwards to schedule a special election during the spring of 2023 rather than waiting until the fall statewide election cycle. 

Mayor Cantrell did not respond today to inquiries about the petitions being submitted. A mayoral spokesperson said that Cantrell would continue to do the city’s work. Earlier in the day Cantrell praised the efforts of city officials and Sheriff Susan Hutson in managing a successful Mardi Gras celebration.  The holiday was marred by two deaths along parade routes and the shooting of four additional parade goers. Mayor Cantrell also caused a considerable stir after an amateur video began circulating of her making an obscene gesture to a passing float during the Krewe of Tucks parade Saturday, February 18. Stories about the February 19 mass shooting along the parade route also made national news. 

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