City-Parish Councilman Bruce Conque posted on his Facebook wall Tuesday that Lafayette Registrar of Voters Charlene Menard announced that she’s changed more than 81,000 voter ID cards to reflect the new city council districts. Menard said that voter information is available now. She made the changes related to the new parish council districts weeks ago.
“It was hard not to give any information out, because it was there, but you couldn’t hand it out in case something happened,” Lafayette Registrar of Voters Charlene Menard said.
This means the Secretary of State now has the information and should be able to get voter lists to candidates. KATC reached out to the Secretary of State’s Office and his press secretary, Tyler Brey, said that they’re working on the lists now.
“We are going through it on our end, making the changes to it in our system,” Brey said. “We want to be thorough, but we also want to be as quick as possible. By the end of next week, we’re shooting to have that done.”
This relates to the change to the Lafayette City-Parish Charter that voters approved in December. Voters decided to de-consolidate the City-Parish Council into a City Council and a Parish Council. The proposal put before voters had some clerical errors in a few precincts, and the council later corrected them – as they have made changes to precincts in the past, related to census findings, etc., based on advice from city-parish attorneys.
A local man, who has said he did not agree with the de-consolidation but plans to run for a council seat anyway, filed suit challenging that action, claiming that the corrections must go back to the voters. The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the Secretary of State also joined the suit.
The Secretary of State’s office has said it would not release voter registration lists to candidates for this fall’s elections, which is a common first step for campaign work. An announced candidate for one of the council seats told our media partners at The Advocate that she was told the Secretary of State’s Office told her they wouldn’t update the voter lists until the appeals were heard.
Menard’s action indicates the candidates will be able to get the voter lists, if not from the Secretary of State, from the local registrar of voters. The new parish council districts, which did not contain any of the clerical errors in question, already have been implemented and provided to the Secretary of State’s Office.
“It’s very important that you are aware of this prior to election day so that you are voting on the right district, or that i did not make mistake,” Menard said.
Earlier this month, Ardoin said he couldn’t release the lists because he didn’t have them, but now he has them, and as Brey said, is working on them.
To read our stories about this lawsuit, click here.