You want to know Where are we with Mayor Cantrell’s recall? Waiting. That’s where we are. That’s what we’re doing. Tapping our fingers, twiddling our thumbs, not knowing much of nothing at the moment. All we know is that the recall petitions were dropped off and then a second line took place. Now we’re just sitting here waiting to know what we don’t know. Here’s a list.

Things we don’t know:

  • How many signatures were collected.
  • How many signatures are actually needed.
  • Whether the recall will be on the Spring or Fall ballot if it succeeds.
  • Who did or didn’t sign the petition.

Yep, essential stuff. But our waiting should be ending soon, like today if a judge speeds up her ruling.

Today, the recall organizers are in court fighting with the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters Office. The Registrar is the office tasked with certifying the recall signatures. The organizers are out to get about 30,000 people removed from the Orleans Parish voter rolls. They claim these are mostly people who’ve left the city but are for some reason still registered to vote here. Getting them off the rolls would lower the number of needed signatures by about 6,000. Clearly, a win for the organizers. But given that this fight is going on this late in the game a couple of things should be obvious:

  • The organizers don’t have enough signatures based on the present number of registered voters. If they did, then today’s court ruling would be irrelevant.
  • Or the organizers actually have enough signatures based on the present number of registered voters. But they don’t have enough of a cushion to make up for signatures that may be thrown out. If so, that 6,000 would be a nice cushion.

The former and the latter are probably why the organizers also haven’t provided The Times Picayune with the recall petitions as a judge ordered. If they did, then the Times could not only release the names of prominent people who did or didn’t sign up, but also the number of signatures turned over. The organizers are against both. The obvious question has been why.

Eileen Carter and Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste celebrate after delivering recall petitions

Where We are In the Mayoral Recall

On Friday, Eileen Carter, one of the lead NOLATOYA organizers, got a lil Trumpy when she explained why they haven’t revealed how many signatures they’ve collected. She mentioned not showing their hand before the Registrar shows theirs, and how the Registrar was playing shady games with the ballots. Those shady games allegedly consisted of ballots being thrown out because they were written in print instead of cursive. And this is just week one. If this keeps up, we might be headed for Stop The Steal territory if their effort falls short.

Meanwhile, over at the Pontalba, the mayor must be wearing out the carpet, worried sick.  Apparently spending most of her campaign funds on a local stylist to the stars, she now has hardly anything left to launch a counterattack. But she need not worry. Because there’s another thing that should also be obvious:

  • Mayor Cantrell won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. The earliest she could be voted out of office would be April 29th. But that would require a level of efficiency and political betrayal this city and state has never known.

Number one, the Registrar would have to certify the signatures in about a week and a half instead of the 20 working days they are allowed. With the Registrar already complaining about staffing issues, that’s most likely won’t happen, even with the Secretary of State sending  helpers to take over day to day Registrar duties.

And two, once the recall is certified, Governor John Bel Edwards would have to bypass the 15 day grace period he’s afforded and immediately put the recall on the next ballot. State law requires that a recall proposition be announced 46 days before the next general election. That date is April 29th, 56 days from now. 56-46 = a 10 day window for all this to happen.

Finally for number three, there’s the I got your back factor. In the past, John Bel Edwards has donated $10,000 to Cantrell’s campaign via his leadership PAC. If he’s forced to declare a recall it’s hard to imagine him not giving her time to get her funds together.

So at best, we’d be looking at the Fall before anything goes down.

Things to consider until then:

  • If citizens do vote yes to the recall come the Spring or Fall, then either council members Helena Moreno or J.P. Morrell would step in as acting mayor. The district council members have the authority to vote either one of them in.
  • Whoever steps in as acting mayor is still eligible to run once a formal election is declared.
  • Richard Farrell, the man who’s contributed almost $500,000 to the recall, is a consistent and heavy donor to Moreno. But he’s also contributed to Morrell.
  • The last time we saw the recall petitions, they were just sitting around like printer paper in the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters office, unattended. That is ridiculous. And if we’re expected to have faith that the certification is being conducted fairly, then stuff like that can’t be going on.

Until then, here’s to doing what we’ve been doing: waiting.

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