Momentum continues to increase in favor of the New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recall effort as the number of required signatures needed has been lowered by 5,000.
This number was derived from a study done by a data company hired by the recall organizers which showed that there were 30,000 voters in the Orleans Parish Registrar of voters that had either moved out of the parish or died. The number of voters needed to meet the threshold has been lowered as if 25,000 voters had been removed from the voter rolls.
While the number of signatures needed was lowered, the actual voter rolls were completely unaffected. Regardless of this fact, Cantrell chose to retaliate in what can be seen as a desperate move shrouded by a fight for “voting rights”.
“But it’s evident that this recall is just not about me,” said Cantrell. “It is about disenfranchisement of our voters, particularly black voters in this community…”
Cantrell’s attempt to frame the recall as a racist undertaking meant to disenfranchise black voters is almost pitiful but is utterly a reflection of her conduct and mismanagement as mayor.
This baseless claim was made by the mayor who has already been under fire for flipping the middle finger at one of her own citizens riding in a Carnival krewe who had done it to her first. Cantrell recently explained the move to reporters, ironically insinuating that the move was directed towards the entire city of New Orleans.
“I am the mayor of the city. I represent the city,” Cantrell continued. “And to be so disrespectful to a city that has worked so hard to get the privilege to have Mardi Gras – you know? So that’s what that was all about. And hopefully that will never happen again.”
Aside from Cantrell, the President and CEO of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice Ashley Shelton also attacked the recent move.
“Any time that we are questioning voter status for the purposes of political expediency is a problem,” said Shelton.
Shelton then went on to criticize the workaround itself that lowered the required number of signatures.
“A recall was filed. In order to meet the prerequisites of that recall, you have to meet the demands of 20 percent, and it’s 20 percent of what the rolls were at that time,” said Shelton.
This criticism does not consider the idea that current citizens should be able to push back against leadership that is destroying their home. Why should it even matter if previous voters who are dead or no longer living in the parish are included in the overall number? Current citizens are the ones who should be making the decisions.
Democratic State Representative Mandie Landry also spoke under the same premise, saying that the move may set a bad precedent.
“As a lawyer this is killing me that they’re just picking something that is supposed to be a factual issue,” said Landry. “I’m glad that they’re not pulling anyone off today, but I think that’s a concern for the future.”
The most viable criticism of the lowered signature requirement is the precedent that it could set for the future. In the end, those choosing to ally with the recall should stay steadfast in the effort. The forces that put politicians such as LaToya Cantrell in office have spent decades subverting the system we live under and playing to win while those on the right have stuck to the rulebook.
Comments from Cantrell and her allies are no different than what we are seeing on the national level in the fight for election integrity. Desires to make elections more secure get derailed on the national stage by bad actors who paint our efforts under the guise of being racist, sexist, etc.
These tactics are nothing new, and they are the product of those who hate America slowly securing control of our institutions since the 20th century. LaToya Cantrell can paint anything as racist if our popular / social media is quick to back it up. Just browse the comments under Fox 8’s Facebook post of the conference where Cantrell made these comments.
The only solution to this plight is for those on the right to do whatever is necessary to fight for where they call home. In this instance, it is a group of community organizers looking to recall a mayor that is setting fire to our state’s most prized and well-known city.
If we expect any progress to be made, we should be looking to push back.