Validating St. George petition taking longer than expected; could put May election in jeopardy


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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — The East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar's Office has pushed back its anticipated completion date for validating the petition to call an election for the proposed city of St. George from the end of February to mid-March.

The Advocate reports ( ) the delay could cost St. George backers a May election for the proposed city, as the Registrar's Office must finish validating the petition by March 17 for the measure to appear on the May 2 ballot.

A fall election would mean a larger voter turnout for a more crowded ballot with the St. George referendum competing with high-profile statewide races, including those for governor and lieutenant governor. It also could mean the city effort would have to endure another legislative session, providing another opportunity for anti-St. George legislators to try to derail the incorporation.

St. George advocates had been hoping for a spring election to create the city spanning 80 square miles with more than 100,000 residents.

Registrar's Office Administrative Assistant Aimee Pourciau said they have validated 70 percent of the petition to call for an election, and the process has sped up as the end has drawn near.

"Obviously, we want it on the ballot as quickly as we possibly can," St. George spokesman Lionel Rainey said. "It would be nice to be one of the few things on a ballot, but we will work with whatever we have to. It's out of our hands."

St. George organizers would use the additional time, he said, to further educate the public and try to garner support.

Information from: The Advocate,

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