Even as it seems the problem won’t appear, it’s worth noting the marriage of politicization of an election and abdication of responsibility performed by Democrat New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
This past weekend, Cantrell complained that Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s office would not “provide support for generators” in as many as 11 precincts affected by Hurricane Zeta. The storm didn’t directly strike New Orleans last week, but it did topple power lines that blacked out these precinct locations. If the situation persisted into Tuesday, no power through electrical outlets would be available to run voting machines and other site utilities.
As it turned out, by Monday eights sites were on the way to power restoration. As for the other three, provider Entergy New Orleans said it would pony up a generator for one and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness would scrounge two more, while Entergy would take care of installation and transport of these.
Cantrell claimed “In failing to fulfill its duty, the Secretary of State’s office risks disenfranchising Orleans residents and threatens to suppress the vote,” and also bleated that Ardoin “has taken the unprecedented position” that the city of New Orleans must use its employees and money to provide generators for polling places. Unprecedented only if the Louisiana Revised Statutes didn’t exist.
Both R.S. 18:533 and 18:1374 plainly state that the governing authority of each parish shall establish one polling place for each precinct. Each polling place shall be “equipped with proper electric current, fixtures, and outlets necessary to properly operate the voting machines and otherwise to conduct the election (emphasis added). The governing authority in New Orleans is the New Orleans City Council.
Legally, it’s not Ardoin’s fault if New Orleans doesn’t provide a location with electric current and the means to operate the machines on the day of the election, it’s the city’s. Thusly, he rightly blasted Cantrell for her refusing to take responsibility while incorrectly blaming him: “It is unfortunate that politicians like Mayor Cantrell … have responded to Hurricane Zeta by trying to score cheap political points instead of being part of any solution.”
Spot on. And she improperly faulted somebody other than herself, with a wild untrue story about alleged Ardoin obstinance as part of a mythical voter suppression effort, as an electioneering gimmick. Raising the accusation about suppression tries to boost turnout in the state’s copious bastion of Democrats, aiding candidates with leftist agendas.
In the New Orleans area, not much remains competitive and Democrats don’t have a prayer of capturing the state’s eight electoral votes. But Democrats will need sky-high turnout on their part to push incumbent GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy to a runoff, and to have a chance to supplant the area’s Republican Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta in a runoff. Outcomes like these lay behind Cantrell’s efforts to goose votes for Democrats by creating a false crisis atmosphere.
Other jurisdictions in the state affected by the stormy latter part of 2020 quietly went about their business of obtaining power for election day. Only Cantrell tried to politicize it, with her carping serving as another reminder of her general unfitness to govern.