On Monday, July 6, Judge Wilson Fields dismissed our lawsuit before the merits of our suit were ever heard. This is the timeline of what happened and the actions take by the newly appointed Registrar of Voters Steven Rayborn, and Residents Against the Breakaway, Inc.
Immediately following the final determination made by the Registrar of Voters on June 13, 2015 (claiming we were 71 signatures short) we began to review their work. Within days we identified multiple errors with the Registrar’s signature count and process. We immediately brought these errors to the Registrar’s attention and asked that Mr. Rayborn correct his work. This is the same type of request made by Better Together a week earlier, which was accepted and resulted in us losing 80+ signatures previously counted as good.
After being confronted with our simple and informal request that he correct his mistakes, t, their normal legal council, and hired special counsel. After advice from special council, the Registrar took the position that he was not allowed to correct ANY errors once his determination had been made. He did not dispute the fact that errors had been made. He just said that he couldn’t fix them. There is no law to support this illogical position, so we filed a lawsuit, which simply asked the Court to require the Registrar to correct his mistakes.
In response to this lawsuit, the Registrar’s attorney argued that the law does not provide a path for a challenge to the Registrar’s signature count/determination. So, before we even had an opportunity to explain what errors were made, we first had to prove to the Court that there is a clear path for challenging the Registrar’s signature count. We cited La. R.S. 18:221 as proof of the law that allows such a challenge. The statute is crystal clear and can be read here. Despite this clear statute and a Court’s obligation to apply a clear law as written, the Court agreed with the Registrar’s attorney who stood together with the attorney for Residents Against the Breakaway, Inc., finding that there is no legal path to challenge the Registrar’s signature count, right or wrong.
We believe this decision is not only a clear legal error but also an insult to common sense, democracy, fairness and our own State’s Constitution, which guarantees an “adequate remedy” in the courts for any rights infringed (Art. 1, Section 22 which can be read here).
Fell free to let the Registrar of Voters know how you feel about this:
Steve Rayborn: East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters
10500 Coursey Blvd, #203