UPDATE: Elton mayor cited for battery day before recall petition lands on governor’s desk
Published 2:34 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023
A recall petition against Elton Mayor Keisa Skinner Lemoine was delivered to the Governor’s Office on Tuesday after being certified by the Jeff Davis Parish Registrar of Voters office.
This is the second attempt to recall Lemoine. An effort earlier this year to put the recall election on the ballot failed after organizers did not submit enough valid signatures.
In an email to the American Press, Governor’s Office Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Shauna Sanford confirmed the office had received the petition and was reviewing it. Sanford also released a copy of the 21-page recall petition to the American Press.
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“State law dictates if and when an election can be called, and as usual, Gov. Edwards will follow the instructions set forth in the statute,” Sanford stated in the email.
The governor will have 15 days to determine the validity of the recall efforts and decide whether to call an election on the question of recalling Lemoine.
Specifics of the election timeline will be determined in coordination with the Secretary of State, according to Sanford.
If a recall election is called, voters would be asked if they are for or against the recall.
If the majority of voters approve the recall, the office would be declared vacant and a special election held to fill the vacancy. Lemoine would not be able to run for the office.
Registrar of Voters Joann Blair was able to certify 249 of the 252 signatures on the petition. The petition needed at least 245 handwritten signatures, or 40 percent of the registered voters in Elton to move forward.
Blair said she could not certify three names on the petition because one person had died since signing the petition and two others were removed because they did not use the same address as their voter registration.
Petition Vice Chairman Marilyn Granger said she is pleased the petition is on the governor’s desk and anticipates an election will be called soon.
“There will be an election in which the registered voters of Elton will have an opportunity to vote yes to keep her or no to get her out of office,” Granger said. “Everyone will have a voice to either keep her or don’t keep her. I cannot stress enough how important it will be that everyone go out and make their voices heard. If the citizens don’t want her in office, then they need to go out and vote.”
The group started the recall effort because of what they say are election irregularities and election fraud stemming from the November 2022 mayoral election. The group contends that voters used addresses that did not exist and claimed homestead exemptions in other parishes.
Lemoine has not publicly responded to the allegations.
The acceptance of the recall petition comes a day after Lemoine was issued a citation by the Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office for simple battery following an altercation at the Elton Town Hall after a council meeting on Monday.
“A citation was issued to Mayor Lemoine for simple battery and a detective has been assigned to the case,” Chief Deputy Chris Ivey said Tuesday. “He will be getting videos of the incident and submit a report to the District Attorney’s Office to see if the charge will be accepted.”
The charge stems from a verbal altercation between Lemoine and another female that occurred in the hallway after the council meeting. During the altercation, Lemoine allegedly reached out and pushed another female away who was videotaping her.
Ivey said sheriff deputies were called to the meeting to assist the Elton Police Department.