NEW ORLEANS - A week after the Nov. 6 election, the toll renewal for the Crescent City Connection passed after the final mail-in ballots for Orleans Parish were counted Tuesday morning. The tolls are renewed for another 20 years.
Only 20 of the 32 mail-in military ballots had votes on the issue. Of those, 14 were in favor of renewal, 6 were against, making the final margin 16 votes for the renewal.
That's after more than 308,000 votes were cast on the issue. Each side had more than 154,000 votes for their side.
The Board of Elections supervisors met at 11 a.m. for the count of overseas military and provisional ballots. Voters from three parishes – Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines – cast ballots for the CCC toll renewal measure.
With the race decided by so few votes, there may still be a legal challenge to the election. State Representative Pat Connick, an outspoken critic of the tolls, launched an official inquiry into the CCC toll vote.
Connick is asking Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell, the top election official in Orleans Parish, for the total number of walk-in ballots, early voting mail-in ballots and provisional ballots cast and counted in Orleans Parish. He is also asking for the total number of early voting mail-in ballots disqualified in the parish.
Supporters for the tolls argued that without the $21 million in toll money, the bridge would not be secured, properly maintained or lit at its current level. Opponents, however, called the toll an unfair tax and argued the levy was originally placed on the bridge to pay for cost of construction.