Voting Problems, Fraud, Scandals Plague Polling Places Across America: Louisiana
LOUISIANA – December 1, 2018
Some polling stations in Louisiana were not ready to receive people, in particular, the site at a school on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans, where officials could not solve the problem of accessibility for people with disabilities.
According to chief electoral officer Arthur Morella, the staff received several phone calls on Election Day with requests to install a ramp for the disabled, however, nothing was done until the middle of the day.
Morrell reached out to the charter school's board after he received calls from disabled voters who were frustrated because they had no way to climb the steps to the school building's entrance. As of Election Day afternoon, the issue was not remedied.
"Accessibility to the building previously was through the parking lot or schoolyard, but this new administration through this new charter school refused to open the gate," Morrell said.
"We have some handicapped voters who have called, and they are just not going to vote, because they can't get in the building," he added.
Foundation Preparatory said that night that it complied with the Orleans Parish School Board's requirement to allow their school to be used as a polling site and with federal laws that require adequate accommodations for disabled residents in public buildings.
"The school met with officials from the Clerk of Court's office on multiple occasions in order to learn what would be necessary to accommodate the Clerk's request. Additionally, Foundation Prep reconfirmed with the Clerk's office their needs for election day," school spokesman Gary Watson said.
"The school met every requirement to support strong voter participation and is 100 percent compliant with all (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements."
In addition, almost none of the polling stations had parking spaces, and people couldn’t leave their cars in front of the stations where the police were on duty and demanded not to park.
The delays created by the authorities themselves forced Louisiana Democrats to call for an extension of voting hours in those two parishes, although it should be noted that these problems didn't affect the turnout, which was quite high in the state.
The largest number of problems arose at the polling station forthe Webster parish. There, court clerk Holly Wining said, the vote was not halted at any time on election day.
Terrell Mendenhall, a candidate for Webster Parish School Board District 2 who lost by 13 votes, said he has heard from “a lot of” voters who said they had trouble voting in a Springhill precinct on Nov. 6.
"I've heard a lot of complaints, a lot of complaints about the machines, that they had to push the buttons five or six times before they could cast their votes," he said. "They didn’t trust that."
Other violations were noted at the same polling places, with people voting multiple times--simply changing their clothes in-between votes. This was sharply condemned by President Trump.
"The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes," Trump condemned. "It's really a disgrace what's going on."
Louisiana, in its own unique way, joined the fray that has energized partisans for more than two decades when the state’s highest-ranking official and its third-highest squared off over the voting rights of a real person.
Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, a Baton Rouge Republican, faces a Dec. 8 runoff against Gwen Collins-Greenup, a Clinton Democrat, to fill out the remaining year of Tom Schedler’s term as Secretary of State.
A report by Baton Rouge’s WBRZ-TV that a convicted felon, whose brother is a high-ranking official in the Department of Corrections, voted Nov. 6 was something of a twofer for Ardoin's political ambitions. He could take determined action to fight fraud plus smack Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Ardoin wrote Edwards demanding the governor’s office "fully investigate to determine if this error occurred due to negligence or if there was preferential treatment given."
The only investigation necessary, however, would have been to crack a law book to see that Robert Myer had never lost his right to vote because he was not “under an order of imprisonment.” Rather, Myer stepped down as mayor of New Roads as part of a plea agreement over charges involving the misuse of city credit cards. His sentence was deferred under Section 893 of the Criminal Code. His probation was completed in July. The Election Code, with which one could reasonably assume the Secretary of State would be familiar, provides that Section 893 people can vote. The right has been reiterated since 1990 by two different attorney generals.
To date, 5,064 individuals have had their sentences deferred and are free to vote, according to the Department of Corrections.
The rest of the state was all quiet, but now we wait for Dec. 8 and the election of the Secretary of State, which is all too ambiguous and incomprehensible. We'll write about this in a separate article.
As for voting machines, they were purchased 15 years ago and are in need of repair or replacing. Several companies offered this, but authorities declined due to lack of funds.