Louisiana holds too many elections, says Secretary of State Schedler

While touting that the state ranks fourth in the nation with 84 percent of its adults registered to vote, Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler also asked four Lions Club members Thursday night to stand and pointed out that in most balloting approximately 20 of those voting decide the fate of candidates and tax propositions.

Nevertheless, Schedler told his Lions Club audience he expects 70 percent voter turnout in the presidential election. The state’s chief election officer also reported record-setting numbers of 350,000 casting ballots in early voting.

He emphasized the importance of the presidential elections because the next president will, most likely, appoint two or three Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Schedler also estimated there are “too many elections in Louisiana.” Between January 2005 and 2010, 70 elections were called in Louisiana, “double other states’ elections.”

He reported 32 of the 70 elections were called to fill unexpired terms of state and local officials.

Those elections are “costing us millions of millions,” he said, adding reduced elections would result in increased voter participation.

Schedler said there is no definition of what constitutes “an emergency election.”

Instead of holding tax elections within scant months of their expiration, Schedler said, “There’s ample time in 36 or 24 months before the end of bond or tax elections.”

He explained it costs $5.1 million ––$12,050 per precinct –– to hold a statewide election

Schedler also noted Louisiana is the second state in the United States to permit online voter registration (Geauxvote. com. Voters can also their local ballots and GPS maping to their voting precincts via their smartphones.

Schedler also explained the mechanics of “purging” voter rolls.

Within 30 days of the Department of Health and Hospitals receiving a death certificate, deceased voters are removed from voter rolls. Convicted felons are also removed promptly.

According to federal law, an annual canvassing of voter rolls must be conducted.

If a postal notice chanbge of address is not returned or is undeliverable, that voter is placed on an “inactive list.” for four and a half years. Only if that person does not vote in two consecutive federal elections, is he or she permanently removed.

The Secretary of State’s office second most important function is the registration of commercial permits and applications. Businesses can provide the required documentation online at geauxbiz.com.

The Secretary of State’s office also oversees the operation of 17 state museums, serves as the state archivist and maintains genealogical records.

He concluded, “I’m passionate about the integrity of elections.”

In other business, members will conduct a street drive on Nov. 30-Dec. 1, will bring Santa Claus to area schools and hold a Christmas party on Dec. 6.

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