St. George supporters say they’re on track to submit necessary signatures by deadline

Exactly 30 days into the 60-day period that St. George supporters have to collect the nearly 2,700 signatures needed to put their incorporation measure on the ballot, organizers of the effort say they have gathered more than 2,000 and believe they will easily meet next month’s deadline.

“We’re not there yet,” says St. George spokesman Lionel Rainey. “But based on how we’re tracking every day and every week and over the last 30 days, we’re comfortable we’ll meet our goal and may be able to have a cushion.”

On March 28, the East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters determined the petition the movement’s supporters submitted last July had fallen 2,694 signatures short of the 17,859 needed to bring the measure to a vote of the people. State law, however, gives organizers 60 days to collect more signatures.

Rainey says the group is using the same procedures to collect signatures as it has been for the past year—by walking neighborhoods, conducting robocalls, running radio and social media ads, and setting up tables with petitions at various locations in southeast East Baton Rouge Parish.

While Rainey is optimistic, he is troubled by a provision in state law that will enable opponents of St. George to continue to challenge signatures on the petition right up until it is approved.

“Once we turn it in we cannot turn in any more petitions but our opponents can continue to withdraw signatures up until the point that the petition is validated,” he says. “That’s not fair. It doesn’t seem right.”

The additional signatures are due to the Registrar of Voter’s office on May 28.

—Stephanie Riegel

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