Attempt to recall Edwards falls far short of required signatures

Efforts to remove Gov. John Bel Edwards from office because of complaints about his coronavirus restrictions and mask mandate have failed.

The Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office said this morning that all parishes but one have completed counting signatures on a petition seeking to recall Edwards, and the numbers have fallen far below what is needed to force a recall election.

Only 26,679 signatures have been submitted by parish registrars of voters, according to secretary of state spokesperson John Tobler. That’s less than 1% of registered voters.

The petition was filed Aug. 29. To be successful, supporters of the recall effort needed to get signatures from 20% of voters within 180 days to hold an election on whether to recall the governor. That’s nearly 600,000 signatures.

Edwards is serving his second term after he was re-elected in 2019. The recall petition was filed by Lee Joseph Vidrine and Michael Lyn Vidrine, both of Eunice. In its reason for seeking a recall, the petition accused Edwards of “impeding the constitutional freedoms and livelihoods of all Louisiana citizens without concrete scientific data” and “unconstitutionally mandating that masks be worn in all public places.”