Local Residents Take a Stand to Defend Voting Rights, Charter Amendment
The Lafayette Charter Amendment has been the talk of the town since its introduction in March. The Amendments promised to correct the errors in the Lafayette City Council districts.
But earlier this month, Keith Kishbaugh, who has said he is running for Lafayette Parish Council, and the Secretary of State—assisted by the State Attorney General—all sued LCG, seeking to invalidate that ordinance and force a new election.
But now, some Lafayette residents are intervening in this suit to help defend the actions of LCG.
Six residents in the Elmhurst Park neighborhood—which was one of the areas inadvertently left out of a City Council District in the December 8 charter amendment election—filed a petition Thursday afternoon seeking to protect their right to vote in upcoming council elections.
The six residents are Harold Bernard, Daniel Gillane, Deborah Amy, Dennis Sullivan, Bruce Sawvel, and Jane Sawvel and each are registered voters in Precinct 74.
Precinct 74 voted in favor of the charter amendments by a 76-24 margin in December.
The errors in the charter amendment adversely affected Precinct 74, meaning that until the council corrected the errors in March, the voters in that precinct did not have a City Council district assigned to them.
“Now that the council has corrected the precinct boundaries, this lawsuit is the only thing standing in the way of these residents being able to vote this fall,” Fix the Charter volunteer Kevin Blanchard said. “If the plaintiff and Secretary of State persist in this suit, then we look forward to the court finally resolving this issue and moving forward with elections this fall as scheduled and as the voters intended.”
Elections for the new City and Parish Councils are scheduled for this fall, although if the plaintiffs are successful, those elections would almost certainly be postponed, keeping the current city-parish council members in office for an indeterminate amount of time.
Fix the Charter is helping deter the costs of filing the suit in order to defend the will of Lafayette Parish voters.
Attorneys Travis Broussard, Gary McGoffin, and Steven Ramos have volunteered to represent the residents.
There is a hearing scheduled in the case on April 29. The trial date has been set for May 8.