Investigative Unit: Some candidates election qualification questioned
PLAQUEMINE - Questions are being raised over the qualifying process for candidates running in the November election. The WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered some didn't meet guidelines to qualify.
Currently, the Secretary of State is reviewing 53 challenges where a candidate is accused of falsely qualifying. The deadline to contest a candidate's qualification for election was Friday.
Garland Jenkins is one of those candidates in question. He managed to qualify on the last day, but does not meet the basic requirement of having a high school diploma or GED to be the city's next marshal.
The City Marshal of Plaquemine serves lawsuits, presides over the court and has arresting privileges. Jenkins admits, he does not have a diploma and admitted that he did not read the requirements before qualifying.
"None fo that was given to me to read," Jenkins said.
When asked whether it was his responsibility since he's running for office to know what the qualifications are, Jenkins responded, "Once you qualified you qualified."
Jenkins said he dropped out of school in the 9th grade. He attended Plaquemine High School for a brief stint before going to work full time.
Clerk of Court Bubbie Dupont said he was aware that people were coming into his office to qualify that didn't meet requirements. However, his hands were tied.
"A lot of people think we need to be questioning them more, but we do what we do," Dupont said. "It's our duty to qualify them and someone else to take them off."
Dupont said currently lawsuits are pending against two other candidates who are accused of qualifying and not meeting requirements. They are Edward James Junior of Maringouin and Erick Batiste of White Castle. Both are running for Alderman and owe the state money, according to a lawsuit filed by the Board of Ethics that seeks to disqualify the two men.
Arguments will be heard in Judge Best's courtroom Wednesday morning on both lawsuits.
"I think they think they will get away with it, and it will be overlooked," Dupont said. "The Board of Ethics won't overlook it."
Since the deadline to contest the qualification of Jenkins has passed. His name will appear on the November ballot, according to the Secretary of State's Office. If Jenkins happens to be elected, a registered voter can challenge the results to the District Attorney.