Change proposed to election code

Photo provided by staff.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 9:44pm

State Senator Rick Ward, (D) District 17, wants to put an end to recalled politician's getting a chance to run for their old jobs in special elections.

It's a controversial plan that have voters split.

Voters in Port Allen have a rare perspective on this issue. They are currently dealing with life after a recall election. In November they voted to recall then mayor Deedy Slaughter. Now they must decide who will be their next mayor. On April 5 voters will head back to the polls for a special election. Slaughter is one of the candidates on the ballot.

Currently, if voters recall a public official, then recalled official could choose try to run again in a special election to try to take back the spot they lost.

Ward’s proposed election code change would prevent the recalled official from running in the special election to fill the seat vacated when voters kicked them out.

"I think it's a very good idea it's the way it should have been all along," Jason Hammack, Port Allen resident, said.

Hammack was part of the recall movement. He said when he learned the official he helped get recalled qualified to run again in the April election he was ‘disheartened.’ He said he supports the proposed change to election code.

"Why should the citizens put up with giving an elected official that they worked so hard to remove from office a third chance," Hammack said.

Some voters like Eula Lejeune say the old law should stay.

“I think that if she was recalled. I think she should be able to go and participate in the next election, and that way people can see whether or not the people actually wanted to recall her,” Lejeune said.

She said voting in a recall isn't always easy.

“Individuals that sign a petition and individuals that go to the polling precinct and vote for or against are always totally confused about whether or not they are actually recalling you,” Lejeune said.

That's why she supports giving recalled elected officials a chance to run to get back their old job.

"Maybe then she could see or he could see that this is not for me,” She described. “They really don't want me in this position. "

Hammack says doing that takes voters attention away from the quality of the candidate and turns the focus to the controversy.

Senate Bill 208 is set to be discussed this legislative session. Session starts on Monday March 10.

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