BREAKING: Effort begins to recall Elton mayor

Published 7:40 am Wednesday, May 17, 2023

An effort to recall Elton Mayor Kesia Skinner Lemoine is under way after organizers filed paperwork Tuesday with the Louisiana Secretary of State.

Former Elton councilwoman and mayoral candidate Brandilyn Nicole Soileau is chairman and Brandon Wade Kelley, who faced Lemoine in a Dec. 10, 2022 runoff election, is co-chairman of the recall efforts. Committee members also include Jared “Firecracker” Trahan, who ran for mayor in a Nov. 8, 2022 election and concerned citizen Roderick Williams, who recently found what he says are discrepancies in the last mayoral election.

Kelley told the American Press on Tuesday that the group is seeking to remove Lemoine from office following allegations of election irregularities and election fraud in the Nov. 8, 2022 mayoral election.

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“If they found that there were enough fraudulent votes to change the outcome of the election, of course, the people of Elton’s voices were not heard,” Kelley said.

A committee was scheduled to meet Tuesday night to discuss the next steps and how the signatures will be collected.

“We are still trying to make sure that we are doing everything right,” Kelley said. “I believe we are, but you always want to double check things and make sure everything is done in a proper, legit and truthful way.”

The committee needs 40 percent, or 276 of the 689 registered voters who live within the town limits to trigger a recall election, according to the Jeff Davis Parish Registrar of Voters office.

“All we have to go on right now is word of mouth, but a lot of people are fairly upset in finding out that there were some election fraud going on,” Kelley said.  “Transparency should be a big part of city government. We need to make sure that everything is transparent and that if anything wrong has been found, to right the wrong. This isn’t a witch hunt out for anybody, it is just to make sure that the people of Elton’s voices were accurately heard.”

Lemoine, a former councilwoman who is serving her first term as mayor, said she was made aware of the recall petition Tuesday, but declined to comment when contacted by the American Press.

Secretary of State spokesman John Tobler confirmed that a recall petition that meets all of the new requirements was received via hand delivery by the Secretary of State, Elections Division on Tuesday.

Because the town electorate is under 1,000, the recall must be completed no later than 90 days following a confirmation letter from the Secretary of State office. The state requires all the signatures to be handwritten and include the voter’s physical address.

Signatories can ask in writing to have their names removed, but they must do so before the registrar certifies the petition and sends it to the state.

The Registrar of Voters Office must certify the signatures before the petition is forwarded to the governor. If the required number of signatures is met, the governor has 15 days to call a recall election.