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WBR Registrar of Voters verifies signatures: recall moves forward

Written by Aaron Williams on . Posted in Local

Registrar-edited

West Baton Rouge Registrar of Voters, Stacy Ryan, hand delivered a certified petition with 1,387 verified signatures to the Governor’s office Monday afternoon to set a date for the recall of Port Allen mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter.

Ryan received the petition for recall with 256 pages of signatures on September 3 from the committee to recall Mayor Slaughter and worked to verify each name on the petition until Monday, September 9.

“I did the absolute best I could to be diligent, methodical, without being rushed, without outside pressures,” said Ryan. “Every one of the signatures, I was the last person to make the last judgment call. I had a lot of people, but in the end it was going to be just me and me alone.”

Ryan said that the process was time consuming and expensive, as employees had to work overtime, extra security was hired, and others were hired temporarily.

And though she said she’s relieved to be finished with her part of the recall, she said the process is not quite finished yet.

“Upon certification, I took it to the Governor’s office, and he took possession of it just a little bit before 2 p.m. today,” Ryan said Monday afternoon. “(Governor Bobby Jindal) has it in his possession. And he has 15 days to call the election.”

Ryan said she expects Jindal to call the election to be held on the November 16 ballot, when Port Allen residents will get the opportunity to vote on whether or not they wish to recall Slaughter.

“It will be a question – for or against – and that will be the only thing on the ballot; for the recall or against the recall,” she said.

Ryan said that if a majority, plus one, votes against the recall of Slaughter, she will remain in office and will be unable to be targeted for recall for eight months.

She said that if a majority plus one vote in favor of the recall of Slaughter, after the 10-day contest period, Slaughter will have to resign office. The council will then appoint an acting mayor until the next election is scheduled, which will be in April 2014.

Ryan said that achieving a recall is not an easy process for organizers.

“They’re do-able, they’re not easy. Look at the history of Louisiana, and the successful recalls, especially in a large municipality. We’re not 500,000 people, but 5,300 people is a large municipality,” she said. “They did it. They got 1,387. I threw out (of the 1,521 signatures submitted) 124.”

Ryan said that names were removed from the petition for reasons such as invalid signatures, invalid addresses, discrepancies in information, etc., but added that she did not know how many signatures had been submitted, or exactly how many had been verified until the end of the process.

The target number of signatures for the recall petition was 1,273 – petition organizers were able to garner 1,521 (to which six names were added and 16 were removed) – 1,387 of which were verified.

“In the end, the people will decide; the recall committee did what they had to do, apparently, the numbers are showing it,” Ryan said. “Let’s let the people decide.”

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