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New Orleans mayor begins fight against lowered recall signature threshold

The legal filing targets the Secretary of State, who was part of the deal to reduce the number of signatures needed and the judge who approved it.

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has taken legal action seeking to throw out a deal between the Secretary of State and the group seeking to recall her from office.

The deal between the two sides lowered the number of recall petition signatures needed to trigger a recall election by essentially reducing the number of “active” voters on the Orleans Parish rolls.

The NOLATOYA group had been seeking to reduce the number of names needed as it pushed to get close to the needed number of signatures that, depending on the source, required between 53,000 and 44,000.

Cantrell’s filing alleges that the Secretary of State was “exercising a power not bestowed on him” and in doing so “usurped powers specially reserved to the Louisiana legislature.”

In addition, the filing takes aim at Judge Jennifer Medley, who approved the deal between the two sides, but who was found to have signed the recall position and failed to disclose the conflict of interest.

Eileen Carter, one of the organizers of the recall movement, said she is happy about the legal action. "I hoped it would happen," she said to WWL-TV Tuesday. "It gives us an opportunity to get this new number (of registered, active voters). Residents deserve that."

Cantrell's legal petition comes as officials are about midway through a four-week period to go over the thousands of pages of documents to determine how many valid signatures were submitted and whether or not it meets the amount needed to force a recall vote.

NOLA.com has reported that it received 10,000 pages of signatures from the NOLATOYA campaign and that there were 32,000 signatures on those pages. Apparently there are another 7,000 pages of signatures that have not been received.

The Cantrell administration has claimed that the move to not count "inactive voters" is a move to disenfranchise thousands of, predominately Black voters, while recall organizers have emphasized that listing voters as "inactive" is being done only to determine the number of signatures needed and that anyone on that list can still vote in upcoming elections, including a recall election, if one is eventually held. 

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