Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Louisiana high court puts Shreveport mayor back on ballot

by BIZ Magazine

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A north Louisiana mayor can run for reelection, despite providing incorrect information about his address on his qualifying papers, a divided state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

A Shreveport resident had sued to knock Mayor Adrian Perkins off the Nov. 8 ballot because his qualifying papers falsely indicated that he is registered to vote in the same city precinct where he claims a state homestead property tax exemption.

Perkins, who moved from one of his residences in the city to another in 2019, said the assertion was made in error and shouldn’t disqualify him from running.

In a 4-3 ruling, the majority of the state’s highest court held that state law does not specifically provide for disqualification of a candidate who makes the false claim regarding the precinct where he is registered to vote.

“Thus, this court cannot manufacture a consequence of disqualification for Perkins’ incorrect certification when the legislature has not specifically provided for such a consequence,” Chief Justice John Weimer wrote on behalf of the majority. Justices William Crain, James Genovese and Piper Griffin voted with Weimer.

Justices Scott Crichton, Jay McCallum and Jefferson Hughes dissented.

Crichton zeroed in on a requirement in the statutes that candidates must qualify for the election “in a manner prescribed by law.”

The majority held that that Perkins did so by submitting his notice of candidacy and paying a fee, and that the statute in question doesn’t provide consequences if a statement on the notice is false.

“While I am cognizant of our jurisprudence favoring a liberal construction of candidacy, allowing a certification of proven material false information listed on a notice of candidacy form, filed in the public record, belies the purpose of the form itself and is inconsistent with the integrity with which elections must be conducted,” Crichton wrote.

Perkins, a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy in 2020, is serving his first term as Shreveport’s mayor.

Ten people have signed up for the Nov. 8 race, including state Democratic state Sen. Greg Tarver.

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