Louisiana Lawmaker Wants to Make Recall Petitioning Easier

NEW ORLEANS -- Motivated by recent failures to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni and former St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan, a lawmaker filed a bill on March 30 to reduce the threshold for petition signatures that must be collected to get a recall election on the ballot.

State Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, said he believes both houses of the Legislature will support his proposal when the session starts April 10 and will support the need to ease requirements under the state's recall law, which he called the most onerous in the country.

"I look at Louisiana compared to all the other states that allow for recalls and Louisiana's threshold is by far the highest requirement and I certainly don't want it to be the lowest and likewise I don't want it to be easy, I just want it to be possible."

Under current law, Louisiana districts with more than 1,000 electors need signatures from a third of all registered voters to trigger a recall election. Hollis wants to keep that in place for smaller districts, but lower the threshold to 25 percent of electors in districts with more than 25,000 voters and down to 20 percent of those registered in districts with more than 100,000 voters.

He noted that a number of signatures equal to just 12 percent of the total votes cast in the previous election are needed in California, where voters successfully removed Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

By contrast, large Louisiana districts like Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes must collect signatures from a third of voters registered there.

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