Sunday, July 14, 2024

Secretary of State Ardoin wants veto override session to enact supplemental voter canvass

by BIZ Magazine

By Greg LaRose, Louisiana Illuminator

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Republican, wants state lawmakers to hold a veto override session after Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards rejected a measure that would have required election officials conduct a supplemental statewide voter canvass.

It’s the third time the governor has vetoed a version of the bill that he has deemed redundant because parish registrars already conduct an annual review of their polls. In his veto message, Edwards said the legislation amounted to an attempt to purge voters from the rolls.

Ardoin has argued the proposal isn’t duplicative.

“The insistence by the governor that this process is unnecessary is blatantly partisan and ignores not only the recommendation of the nonpartisan Louisiana Legislative Auditor and election experts, but also the relevant testimony and real-life examples presented in committee,” Ardoin said Wednesday in a statement.

“I believe preserving election integrity is the most important role of the Secretary of State, and my office and our local election partners need this statutory authority to uphold my duty to deliver safe, secure, and accurate elections to the people of Louisiana,” he continued. “I call on the legislature to convene a veto override session and consider H.B. 646. No other election integrity measure is more critical to our state at this juncture.”

House Bill 646, by Rep. Les Farnum, R-Pollock, would allow Ardoin’s office to canvass voters who have not participated in an election for at least 10 years. If they failed to correspond with the Secretary of State’s office, they would also be moved to an inactive voters list where they will have two federal elections to either vote again or confirm their registration before being purged from the voter rolls.

The existing annual voter canvass looks for voters who have changed addresses or moved out of state. The parish registrar mails them a new voter identification card to fill out. If they fail to return the card, they can be moved to an inactive voters list.

State lawmakers must let legislative leaders know if they oppose a veto override session by July 13. If a majority of members in both chambers wants to convene, the session would begin July 18.

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