Carter & Batiste Blast Wilson; Claim 100,000 Recall Petition Signatures Were Submitted

Recall campaign organizers Eileen Carter and Belden Batiste said today, Thursday March 23, that they turned in approximately 100,000 petitions with signatures of Orleans Parish registered voters – far more than the 67,000 petitions Registrar of Voters Dr. Sandra Wilson claimed had been submitted. The announcement came during dual press conferences Wilson and Carter/Batiste held at City Hall. “We knew that 67,000 petitions was not a true number from the moment it came out of Wilson’s mouth,” said one bystander. A total of 45,000 signatures were needed to trigger the election. 

Wilson, who certified only 27,000 of the signatures and rejected almost 40,000 more, slammed recall organizers for signature pages that contained alleged petitions from cartoon characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Wilson also falsely claimed that recall organizers did not keep the original copies of the signatures. In fact, recall volunteers have verified the vast majority of signatures and are poised to authenticate them whenever the rejected signature sheets become available. 

Carter and Batiste delivered boxes with signatures on two separate days – once before the February 22 deadline and once during the 5-day grace period after the deadline during which citizens could still add or delete their names. During the grace period voters were signing and dropping off petitions at the Recall van and other signing locations. Within a day after the initial delivery, Batiste discovered and shot video of open petition boxes unattended on the registrar’s counter. Because petition sheets from those boxes could be easily removed or other sheets like the ones of cartoon characters added, the recall team decided to resubmit the entire first batch with the second.  

Attorneys for the recall are currently reviewing their legal options. No decisions have been made yet regarding future litigation, though many believe litigation will be forthcoming. Wilson has also not released the petitions to the media despite several requests from reporters. Republican State Representative Paul Hollis of Covington is already preparing legislation that will better clarify the recall process. 

Carter was quick to voice her frustration about the numerous encumbrances the recall effort faced. She blamed Wilson for her refusal to provide clear rules in advance and create a fair process. “We are just as confused as everybody else. We do not trust Wilson and we want what is best for the City,” said Carter. 

“We aren’t going anywhere. We want accountability not just from the mayor but by all elected officials. We have invested a lot of time and energy to get this and that’s what we are going to do,” Carter exclaimed.

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