As Registrar Compares Every Signature, Spring Election for St. George Is Unlikely

In an interview with the Capital City News, East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters Steve Raborn said his office is busy processing signatures on petitions for the incorporation of the City of St. George. However, it is slow-going, he said, and he does not anticipate completing his work in time to meet the March 11 deadline for placing the referendum on the Spring 2019 election ballot.
The registrar received the petitions from the St. George movement on Oct. 15, but his office was busy with its duties related to major elections in November and December. “Since mid-December, we’ve been analyzing how we will proceed and we have started the process in a small way,” he said.
The registrar requested an  Attorney General’s opinion on how to handle issues involving certification of the petition. The Attorney General responded to that request, and the registrar said he is following the AG’s opinion.
Raborn said his office has several major tasks:
•    Make sure the person who signed the petition was registered to vote and living in the proposed City of St. George at the time of signing. “There’s no way to do that quickly,” he said. “We have to look at several screens per voter, and it is a tedious process.”
•    Make sure the signature is not a duplicate.
•    Make sure the person signing provided all required information.
•    Compare the handwritten signature with the signature on record.
•    Determine if the voter is on inactive status.
The registrar has no specific deadline to meet in certifying the petition. Once certified as having sufficient signatures, it is transmitted to the governor’s office.
The registrar said his office should be able to complete its work well before the July 9 deadline to get propositions on the fall ballot.
However, delays at the governor’s office or as a result of litigation could conceivably prevent the St. George referendum being on the ballot this fall, Raborn said.

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