BATON ROUGE (WGNO)— An important step for recall reform was taken today at a House of Representatives Committee Meeting. State Representatives voted in favor of passing a bill that would ultimately make it easier for recall elections to be successful in Louisiana.
Paul Hollis, State Representative for District 104 drafted the recall reform bill.
“Let’s take the focus off the registered voters and put the focus on those who actually participated in the election. That’s the smart thing to do,” Hollis said.
Currently by law for a recall to happen, 25 percent of registered voters must sign the petition if there are between 25,000- 100,000 electors in that area.
If there are more than 100,000 registered voters, the number of signatures needed drops to 20 percent.
The major change with Hollis’ bill is the number of necessary signatures would be based on the number of those who participated in the election.
“That’s a concrete number and the goalposts won’t always move,” Hollis said.
He said with voters moving or dying, it is impossible for a recall to be successful with the way the current system is.
“Every other state bases that number on those who participated in the election and not that massive number of total registered voters,” Hollis said.
Hollis said he first became aware that recall reform must happen years ago when former St. Tammany Parish Coroner, Dr. Peter Galvan went to jail. Hollis fought for rules to be changed, and they were in 2018, but he still feels the threshold is too high.
“One of the things with the democratic process is it should be real-time accountability when someone does something truly egregious,” he said.
Lawmakers made some amendments to the bill including what happens if someone is elected unopposed, what happens in smaller voting communities, and preventing election retribution. In regards to election retribution, there must be a six-month “cooling off” period, once elected, before a leader could be recalled.
“My bill makes it achievable and hard, but at the end of the day with enough effort, will be able to get it done,” Hollis said.
Eileen Carter with the “NOLATOYA” campaign says she knows all too well this new bill must take shape. Her Mayor Cantrell recall campaign earlier this year needed 50,000 signatures, but fell short of 27,000.
“It affects our bottom line. It affects how we can move our state forward. It is basic fairness,” Carter said.