March 23, 2018

Know Your Candidates, Then Geaux Vote!

Tomorrow, March 24, is the primary election to fill two judicial vacancies and voters in District 93 will vote for their next representative in the state legislature. Royce Duplessis, Kenny Bordes, Eldon Anderson and Danil Faust are running to succeed Helena Moreno’s District 93 House Seat. Civil Clerk of Court Dale Atkins is running against Orleans Civil District Judge Robin Pittman for a seat on the State’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Taetrece Harrison, Ellen Hazeur, and Richard Perque are running for the Civil District Court Division A seat. These elections are extremely important to the citizens of New Orleans and the change we wish to see.

A large section of our community is currently denied the right to vote. Seven-thousand people are barred from voting in Orleans parish, and six-thousand more are denied in Jefferson Parish, as they are under the supervision of probation or parole. Taken together, that’s 13,000 ballots, guaranteed to be blank, once the polls close tomorrow. Jefferson and Orleans Parishes constitute almost 20 percent of the 70,000 people who are unable to vote throughout Louisiana. This comes at a time when many elected officials are talking about rehabilitation, reentry, stopping cycles of incarceration, and reinvesting savings in supportive programs. Yet many of these elected officials can not even bring themselves to ensure the most basic right of citizenship.

Know Your Vote serves to focus elections on criminal justice issues, which inefficiently consumes a high percentage of our tax dollars, has no statistical relationship to public safety and employs a large labor force that must be held accountable. In this election, Royce Duplessis, Ellen Hazeur, and John Fortunato have emerged as candidates that appear prepared for the long road ahead.

Without the votes of our disenfranchised brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, election outcomes likely won’t reflect the issues our city and state needs to truly focus upon. We need to uplift the voices of disenfranchised people and ensure their opinions are not forgotten. It is imperative that we vote tomorrow, and that we encourage our friends, families, neighbors, and colleagues to vote as well.

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