NEW ORLEANS - A partial recount of ballots cast in last fall's Crescent City Connection toll vote is currently underway in the New Orleans Council Chambers at City Hall. The results, however, will not be released until Tuesday because of the Presidents' Day holiday, on Monday. Multiple media outlets, including Eyewitness News, were denied access to observing the recount.
A judge ordered the recount because of the narrow margin of victory in the election that extended the tolls for another 20 years and claims that early votes were not tallied correctly.
The extension passed by only 18 votes with more than 308,000 ballots cast and counted.
"The deciding factor was the hand-counted ballots that need to be counted again and to double check to make sure they were accurate," said state Representative Pat Connick, of Marrero, a longtime critic of the tolls.
The recount will take place at New Orleans City Hall. The results are expected to be released on Monday.
A Baton Rouge judge sided with toll opponents who filed suit, alleging that the handling, timing and transmittal of absentee mail-in and early ballots in Orleans the night of the election were irregular and highly suspect.
He ordered the Registrar of Voters from Terrebonne Parish to take a second look at about 3600 votes.
Connick who is not a party to the lawsuit says the recount is necessary to restore confidence to the voting process.
"We got to make sure that when we do vote, the vote counts and it's counted properly. That's al we're doing here."
Business groups such as the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce supported the CCC toll extension.
Chamber President Todd Murphy is confident the results of the election will stand.
"Anytime there's a close margin, in a three parish vote, some people are going to cry foul," said Murphy. "I don't know that there's any evidence of that. This certainly should clear it up tomorrow."
The recount may not be the end to the controversy surrounding the CCC toll extension.
Opponents also argue voters who cast so called provisional ballots could only vote in the presidential race, not local elections.
They also accuse one polling commissioner in New Orleans east of openly campaigning for the extension.