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Investigative Unit: There's an issue with high-ranking college official's voting record

3 months 4 days 13 hours ago Wednesday, May 16 2018 May 16, 2018 May 16, 2018 5:52 PM May 16, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ Investigative Unit

GONZALES - Until recently, addresses on file for a member of the Southern University System Board of Supervisors did not match records on file with voting officials or the local tax assessor.

Vague language in state law may be to blame since appointments to boards are decided based on where a person is “from.” Homestead exemption for tax assessments and a person's voting address, which would prove where a person considers their main home, should be the same and board member Donald Ray Henry's have not matched – a violation of state voting laws.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered the mismatch, which officials have called puzzling.

Henry was appointed in 2015 by then-Governor Bobby Jindal to represent Congressional District 2 – an area encompassing Donaldsonville. Though, Henry's homestead exemption is listed as a property on East Tiffani Drive in Gonzales. Tiffani Drive is inside Congressional District 6.

The differing addresses are in violation of state voting laws since voting records obtained by the Investigative Unit show Henry has voted in the Donaldsonville district since January 2015 but those who know him say he lives in Gonzales.

Louisiana law outlines why there is an issue: Part of State Law 18:101 B reads, "If a person claims a homestead exemption, pursuant to Article VII, Section 20 of the Constitution of Louisiana, on one of the residences, he shall register and vote in the precinct in which that residence is located."

Henry removed any homestead exemption two weeks ago, WBRZ learned – meaning, he has no tax rebate on property anywhere, and eliminates any assumption as to where a person considers their primary residence to be.

Someone who identified themselves as Henry's brother said the Donaldsonville home is “his mailing address.” Neighbors said Henry does not live there.

In Gonzales, at the other address, a man who did not identify himself shut the door when WBRZ knocked Wednesday afternoon.

Amid questions about whether Henry is in violation, the governor's office said there was no mechanism to deal with the issue and Southern University referred questions back to the governor's office.

Ascension Parish District Attorney Ricky Babin said his office will investigate the matter.

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