LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (THELIVINGSTONPARISHNEWS)- For many in Louisiana, the way Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health have handled the response to COVID-19 has not been popular.
For some, the economic ramifications of COVID-19 mitigation have been devastating, and dealing with educational changes have hindered the ability of households to participate actively in work environments.
Others, still, say it’s an intrusion on freedoms and that the governor’s mask mandate – instituted in early July – is “unconstitutional.”
The most recent extension of Phase 2 restrictions to Sept. 11 caused two businesses to file a formal recall petition for the governor. In order for the measure to progress, each parish must elect a representative to collect the required number of signatures.
Signatures must be collected in person. Online petitions do not count.
Two locations are scheduled to run over Labor Day weekend in Livingston Parish:
- Saturday (9/5) – 26890 La 42 Hwy Springfield, LA 70462
- Sunday (9/6) – 2720 South Range Ave. Denham Springs, LA 70726
Both locations will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Only eligible voters who reside in Louisiana can sign the petition. The form will ask for the following info:
- Name – it must be the exact name on your voter registration
- Year of Birth
- Date of Signature
- Ward and Precinct of Voter Registration
- Address of which you are registered to vote
- Witness Name – must be two witnesses if the voter uses a mark for signature
- Date Witnessed
The required number of signatures, per parish, depends on the population of registered voters in that location. Livingston Parish has 84,328 registered voters, which means 25 percent of the qualified voters must sign – or 21,082. All parishes must meet the signing criteria for the statewide recall to be accepted.
These are the requirements, based on Louisiana law, which are listed below:
- 40 percent of the qualified electors within the voting area where less than 1,000 qualified electors reside in the voting area
- 33 and 1/3 percent of the qualified electors of the voting area where 1,000 to 24,999 qualified electors reside in the voting area
- 25 percent of the qualified electors of the voting area where 25,000 to 99,999 qualified electors reside in the voting area
- 20 percent of the qualified electors of the voting area where 100,000 or more qualified electors reside in the voting area
From there, the signatures must be certified by the Registrar of Voters in each parish. Since the recall petition is for the governor, the final filing shall go through the Secretary of State’s office, who will call an election.
Any recall election will be scheduled for a normal election period, primary or general. You can read the full rules for recall elections on the Secretary of State’s website by clicking here.
Gov. Edwards and the LDH are currently embroiled with Firehouse BBQ in Watson, a restaurant which refuses to enforce the mask mandate. The state filed a restraining order against Firehouse for any further activity, and Firehouse filed their own restraining order against the state.
Judge Brian Abels, of the 21st Judicial District, has upheld both restraining orders allowing Firehouse to continue operations until decisions have been made in court.
Currently, the suit is at a standstill while the state files a writ with the First Circuit Court of Appeals to see if the case should be moved to the 19th Judicial District, in Baton Rouge, which usually hears cases for and against the state.
In the mean time, Gov. Edwards’ bar closure rulings and mask mandate have been deemed “lawful under the executive powers” granted to the office during times of emergency by both district and federal judges.
Several conservative members of the Louisiana Legislature have tried to start their own petition to end the governor’s emergency declaration for COVID-19, but still lack the required signatures. Concerns over federal funding availability have kept other legislators from signing on, especially if there’s another spike in cases and hospitalizations.
Some proponents also back the governor, as Edwards continues to testify that he consults the White House coronavirus task force before making decisions on extensions of the phases.
Proponents of removing his emergency declaration, in this instance, say that the governor and LDH are operating out of legal bounds and causing undue economic pains for businesses and families.
Currently, Phase 2 for Louisiana is expected to end next Friday, Sept. 11. Gov. Edwards is expected to make comments on the matter sometime next week, after Labor Day.
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