Attempt to recall Louisiana governor falls far short, fails

Local News

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards holds up his own mask, taken off while he was speaking, to remind Louisiana residents that a highly effective thing within their power to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to simply wear a mask, Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at a press conference update on the state’s COVID-19 situation at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Baton Rouge, La. (Travis Spradling/The Advocate via AP, Pool)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Efforts to remove Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards from office because of complaints about his coronavirus restrictions and mask mandate have failed.

The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office said Friday that all parishes but one have completed counting signatures on a petition seeking to recall the Democratic governor, and the numbers have fallen far below what is needed to force a recall election.

Only 26,679 signatures have been submitted by parish registrars of voters, according to Secretary of State spokesperson John Tobler. That’s less than 1% of registered voters.

The petition was filed with the Secretary of State’s Office on Aug. 29. To be successful, supporters of the recall effort needed to get signatures from 20% of voters within 180 days to hold an election on whether to recall the governor. That’s nearly 600,000 signatures.

Edwards is serving his second term as governor. He was re-elected in 2019.

The recall petition was filed by Lee Joseph Vidrine and Michael Lyn Vidrine, both of Eunice. In its reason for seeking a recall, the petition accused Edwards of “impeding the constitutional freedoms and livelihoods of all Louisiana citizens without concrete scientific data” and “unconstitutionally mandating that masks be worn in all public places.”

Several judges in the state have upheld Edwards’ coronavirus restrictions and face covering requirement.

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