Judge dismisses St. George signature challenge
BATON ROUGE - A judge dismissed a challenge from St. George supporters Monday who felt voting officials incorrectly excluded some signatures from their petition to incorporate part of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Judge Wilson Fields ruled the Registrar of Voters Office did its job correctly by excluding anyone's signature who had registered to vote after Oct. 20, 2014, when the petition was originally turned in.
"Well we believe that was the correct determination," said Registrar Steve Raborn. "That's what the staff had used since the very beginning of the checking process, and that was understood to be the requirement."
However, St. George organizers disagree with the judge's decision to throw out the lawsuit.
"They're essentially stating that there is no avenue under the law for the registrar to correct his mistakes," said attorney Daniel Redmann, who represents St. George organizers. "I think everyone knows that that's an absurd statement and an absurd argument."
The petition fell short of its goal by 71 votes, according to the registrar. The St. George movement grew out of a failed push to create a breakaway school district in the Shenandoah area of East Baton Rouge Parish.
St. George organizers can appeal the decision, but it's unclear if the group will do so. If not, organizers would have to wait two years before starting efforts again.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the case was being heard in Judge Beau Higginbotham's court. The story has been corrected to list the proper judge.