NOLA mayor recall organizers did not turn over copies of signatures to media despite earlier agreement
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Organizers of the effort to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell did not turn over copies of the signatures on the petition to the Times-Picayune as promised, according to the paper.
On Wednesday, leaders of the recall petition turned over boxes of signed petitions to the registrar, saying they have enough signatures to force a recall election against Mayor Cantrell.
But hours later, the Times-Picayune/nola.com reported that the recall organizers did not live up to their promise to give the paper copies of the signatures an hour after submitting them to the registrar.
“I think this was a surprise to everyone, to members of the media, to other members of the community... because the organizers agreed to turn over copies of the petition at the same time that they turned it into the registrar of voters’ office,” said Dillard University political analyst Dr. Robert Collins.
After a recent court hearing one of the recall leaders, Eileen Carter told the media they would indeed give the paper the signatures as part of a lawsuit settlement.
“No one will see it until we hand in that ledger to the registrar of voters,” Carter said.
The paper reported that the recall organizers now say it must pay thousands to get the signatures.
“At the time that they made the agreement with the court, there was no requirement for fees,” Collins said.
The recall leaders refused to say how many signatures they turned over citing the litigation.
Signatures on recall petitions are public record.
“I think it’s a bad look for them,” Collins said. “I think they should go ahead and just release the copies as they agreed to in their court settlement.”
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Joshua Spivak is a recall expert and senior research fellow at Berkeley Law’s California Constitution Center and is monitoring the recall efforts in New Orleans.
“Normally, most petitions have a 20 percent or so signature failure rate, so in that case, in the case that would mean they would need to turn in about 60,000 signatures,” Spivak said.
He’s aware of the recall campaign’s suit alleging 30,000 names on the active voter rolls shouldn’t be there. If there are fewer registered voters, that reduces the number of required signatures.
We reached out to Eileen Carter of the recall effort, their attorneys, the Times-Picayune, and Mayor Cantrell’s campaign manager for comment but so far have not heard back.
A hearing on the voter rolls lawsuit is set for Monday.
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