Signature requirement met for Elton mayor recall petition

Published 2:46 pm Thursday, August 3, 2023

A petition to initiate a recall election of Elton Mayor Kesia Skinner Lemoine has met the minimum number of signatures with more than 300 people backing the efforts, according to organizer Roderick Williams.

As of Thursday, Williams said the group has secured more than 300 signatures, meeting the minimum number of 275, or 40 percent of the 689 active voters in Elton at the time the recall was started. The group has until Aug. 13 to submit the petition.

Although the group believes they have the numbers needed, the petition’s success  or failure will not be official until all signatures have been verified by the Registrar of Voters.

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Williams said the petition is not about removing the mayor from office or a “black and white” issue, but about having an election to ensure the voices of the registered voters are heard and that the town has a fair election.

The group started the recall petition in June amid allegations of election irregularities and election fraud in the Nov. 8, 2022 mayoral election. By law, the group has 90 days to gather signatures. All signatures must be handwritten and include the voter’s physical address.

Williams feels confident the group will meet the number of signatures needed.

“I definitely feel positive about it,” he said. “If the petition fails, at least our mission has been completed because we got residents and the council members asking more questions. They are not letting things slide anymore. They are more involved in what is happening, what the mayor is spending money on and asking questions about voters.”

Williams said the group plans to present the petition to the Jeff Davis Parish Registrar of Voters Office ahead of the Aug. 13 deadline. The Registrar of Voters Office has 15 days to verify the signatures. The group must also send certified letters to Lemoine and the Jeff Davis Parish Registrar of Voters office notifying them of plans to submit the petition.

“If we get 40 percent of the voters that are needed, then the petition will go to the governor who will call an election,” Williams said. “If we don’t get the 40 percent, the petition dies right then.”

If the required number of signatures is met, the governor will have 15 days to call a recall election, according to Secretary of State spokesman John Tobler.

“If the recall petition is successful, they will send it to the governor for the governor to call a recall election,” Tolber said, “Simply put, voters in the district will get to have a yes or no vote on the recall.”

If voters approve the recall, the elected office would be vacated and an election called, Tobler said. The recalled official would be prohibited from running for the office.