NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — As petition signatures are being counted in the effort to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has called on Governor John Bel Edwards to take the verification of the list a step forward with new legislation.

Thousands of signatures presented by the NOLATOYA campaign were turned in earlier this week, shortly before Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline. Now, as the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters verifies the signatures, it’s a waiting game to see if the effort has the number of signatures it needs to trigger a recall election.

A court hearing next week could help decide how many inactive voters would be taken off the rolls. This could mean the recall would need around 6,000 fewer signatures.

In a statement released on Friday morning, Ardoin credits the ability of the office to verify the signatures to his work with the state legislature, including more accurate death records from the state health department. He says that his office has followed the procedures to keep the list of registered voters current but has also called on the governor, saying that more needs to be done.

According to the SOS, despite an annual verification of active voters in the state already in place, another check on the list per year is necessary to keep it updated for local Registrars of Voters who have to verify the signatures in cases like the recall petition. Ardoin says efforts to implement the policy have made it to Governor Edwards’ desk twice in the last two years but have been vetoed both times.

“Recall elections are an essential component of Louisiana’s democratic form of government,” Ardoin said. “I fully and completely support and endorse the right of voters to seek a recall election.”

We’re told similar legislation is in the works in the ongoing legislative session. As of late Friday morning, the governor had not responded to the Secretary of State.

With many more steps to go, if the NOLATOYA effort achieves the 20 percent of necessary voters required, then it will go before Governor John Bel Edwards to call for a recall election.

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