Cantrell Files Twin Lawsuits To Challenge Settlement in Recall Case


Attorneys working for Mayor LaToya Cantrell and co-plaintiff Rev. Willie Calhoun filed twin lawsuits in East Baton Rouge Parish and Orleans Parish today (Tuesday March 14) challenging the settlement reached between Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and officials that reduced by 5,000 the number of active voters needed to trigger a recall election.

On Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023, recall leaders delivered what they claimed to be approximately 50,000 signatures of Orleans Parish voters to Registrar of Voters Dr. Sandra Wilson. Wilson and her staff have been reviewing the petitions in her office’s break room and have eight more days to complete the authentication process. The Secretary of State has provided additional staff for Wilson’s office to handle regular office business as well as early voting which is taking place this week for the March 25 election.  

If Wilson is unable to authenticate 44,976 signatures, the recall campaign would fail and Cantrell would continue serving as mayor for the remainder of her term. Today’s lawsuits lead recall supporters to wonder if Cantrell was tipped off by someone involved in the authentication process that the reduced threshold needed by recall advocates was about to be met. 

Cantrell’s attorneys- respected civil right litigator Ron Wilson and criminal defense expert Marion Floyd – filed a Petition to Vacate, nullify, set aside and/or otherwise invalidate the final judgment between the Secretary of State and the recall campaign. They also asked for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus to the Secretary of State to explain how he chose to reclassify 25,000 Orleans Parish voters as inactive. Recall officials have repeatedly claimed their research indicates that closer to 70,000 individuals currently on the voting rolls should be removed from active status. 

Civil District Court Jennifer Medley heard the case regarding the number of signatures needed. It was later revealed that Medley had signed the recall petition. Cantrell supporter William “Bill” Rouselle issued a statement today that Ardoin’s actions could be a precursor of what might transpire in the upcoming state and local elections. “They used this opportunity to demoralize our people, divide our city, and disenfranchise thousands of voters in New Orleans ahead of the Governor’s race. But we won’t let them take our rights away.”

No voters were purged from the rolls as part of the recall process. Those individuals who were moved to inactive status were placed there only for purposes of the recall. An inactive voter can vote in any election by simply providing a driver’s license or other identification that proves he or she still resides in the parish. Louisiana law requires that the Registrar of Voters review the voting rolls on an annual basis to identify those who may no longer be qualified to vote due to death or change of address.

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