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Still no word as to number of Cantrell recall petition signatures being checked for certification

Posted by Scott R. Bickford | Mar 08, 2023 | 0 Comments

Published: Fox 8 Live - Mar. 7, 2023 at 6:54 PM CST|

Source Link: Still no word as to number of Cantrell recall petition signatures being checked for certification (

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It has been nearly two weeks since organizers hoping to trigger a recall election against New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell submitted their petition to Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters Sandra Wilson. And still, neither the petitioners nor Registrar Sandra Wilson has said how many signatures were collected and are being examined for certification.

“At this juncture, we just can't provide any statements about the process, with everything we have going on,” Wilson's chief deputy registrar Danielle Duplessis-Hammond told Fox 8 on Tuesday.

Under state law, recall petitions are a public record. Fox 8 filed a public records request with the registrar on March 1, seeking to review or copy the petition. So far, the access has not been granted and the registrar says it will not respond to any request that hasn't been signed by at least 25 “qualified voters of the parish.”

“The law says the recall petition is public record from the time the first person signs it,” said election law attorney Scott Bickford. “So, the custodian of that record was the people that collected the signatures, up until the time they filed it with Sandra Wilson, the registrar of voters. She's now the custodian.”

According to Louisiana Revised Statute 18:154, “The records of each registrar are public records and at all times during office hours shall be open to inspection, except the early voting confirmation sheets of voters.”

Wilson has 20 business days -- until March 22 -- to certify and count the signatures on the petition. Bickford said that during this certification and counting phase, Wilson has a strong argument for not immediately fulfilling public records requests.

“She has 20 (working) days, once she got that, to count all these signatures and make sure that those signatures are in fact voters in Orleans Parish,” Bickford said. “So, if Sandra Wilson is asked at this point to produce public records, she probably has a good cause under the law to say, ‘No, this would interfere with my project of counting these votes and I can't even separate half of these and give you half of them without disrupting my count.'

“She probably has a pretty valid reason for not producing any records at this point.”

About the Author

Scott R. Bickford

Principal Scott R. Bickford, is the president of the Louisiana Association for Justice and one of the principals of Martzell, Bickford & Centola, is a civil and criminal trial attorney whose practice is focused in representing the rights of injured workers and families in complex maritime cases, environmental contaminations, toxic exposures and criminal proceedings. He has been trial counsel in cases involving nationwide class actions relating to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma cases, benzene exposure, massive oil spills and major rig explosions, including the DEEPWATER HORIZON, where he sat on several discovery committees concerning the investigation of the matter as well as being a participant in the Joint Investigation Committee of the United States Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Review and Enforcement. He has tried or settled multiple cases to verdicts in the Millions of Dollars. He is presently a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee of the McKinsey MDL litigation, Chair of the Ad Hoc NAS Committee in the Purdue Bankruptcy and an advocate and counsel to several thousand children born opiate dependent. Additionally, Mr. Bickford has represented various governmental and private landowners in environmental land damage cases and has litigated oil and gas royalty disputes and commercial oil and gas disputes. In addition to his civil practice Mr. Scott Bickford maintains a criminal practice involving matters such as mail fraud, money laundering, sexual misconduct cases and a variety of other criminal matters. Scott has represented multiple clients in election matters and in 1996 represented U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in her election contest before the United States Senate. Recently he has represented the interest of New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu and several other Louisiana elected officials in their election races. In 2008 he represented the Louisiana Democratic Party in the “Protect the Vote” project. Professional and civic activities: Board of Governors Louisiana Association of Justice; Louisiana Bar Association Committee on Profession; Member Greater Orleans Community Partnership Panel (Louisiana Bar Foundation); Assistant Bar Examiner, Louisiana Bar Association (1990 to Present); Associate Professor, Co-Director of Trial Advocacy, Tulane School of Law; Former Chair Project Lazarus; Master, St Thomas More Inn of Court; Former alumnus advisor Kappa Sigma Fraternity. As mentioned above, Mr. Bickford is also a frequent lecturer to law students, other lawyers and judges… He is also on the Board of Governors of the American Association of Justice a national organization of attorneys devoted to promoting a fair, accountable and balanced justice system where the court house doors are open to all. As a AAJ Board of Governor he has coordinated nationwide moot court trial competitions among the country's law schools and lobbied for laws which treat all litigants equally. Mr. Bickford graduated from Tulane University and Tulane Law School. He was admitted to practice in 1983 in Louisiana and is also admitted to practice in Texas and Colorado.


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