How close can Yenni recall petition tables be to voting polls?

Paul Murphy investigates whether or not the "Recall Yenni" tables are too close to polling places in Jefferson Parish.

METAIRIE, La. -- Since the kickoff of an effort to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni, petition organizers have been clashing with parish officials on how close they can be to polling places.

The parish Registrar of Voters is threatening to remove or arrest recall organizers if they don't move back at least 600 feet.

However, recall supporters said a 20-year-old Supreme Court decision gives them the right to collect recall signatures within 100 feet of a polling place.

Wednesday, a long line of voters outside the parish government building Elmwood were waiting to sign a petition to recall Yenni.

Recall organizers set up their table 100 feet from the building, where early voting is underway.

Tuesday, Jefferson Parish Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco told attorney Robert Evans, who filed the recall petition, state law prohibits any recall activity within 600 feet of a polling area.

The heated discussion was captured on cell phone video.

In the video, DiMarco tells Evans he's on public property, and needs instead to be two football fields away.

Wednesday, Evans returned to the Yenni building. He said a 1995 Louisiana Supreme Court case, known as the Schirmer decision, held that the total ban on political speech within a distance of 600 feet from polling places was unconstitutionally overboard. 

"I have the Supreme Court case that says we're allowed to be within 100 feet and there's been no law or opinion or authority to suggest otherwise," he said.

DiMarco said the state election code has been revised by the legislature two times since the Schirmer decision, and the 600-foot limit remains the law of the land.

"If he still refuses to move, my next recourse is to call the sheriff and ask the sheriff to remove him because he's violating the election code," said DiMarco.

Voters signing the petition said Evans should be allowed to set up his table within 100-feet of the polling area.

"It's right where it needs to be," said recall signer Mike Drufner. "The voters who are coming to park can see it as they enter the building and as they exit the building."

Others agreed.

"I think they're just fine," said Eugenie Killian, who also signed the recall. "I think the people need to have an opinion and why not start where people are going to vote. We need to make a change and this is the best way to get out there."

(© 2016 WWL)


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment