FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–August 4, 2020
With State Government at an Impasse Over Election Plan, Lawsuit Likely to Decide Issue
Yesterday, Gov. Edwards made it clear that he will not sign the current version of Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s Emergency Election Plan, which will still be heard in front of the House & Governmental Affairs committee this morning. Deadlock over the issue will likely lead to a decisive court battle.
NEW ORLEANS, LA | August 19, 2020—After waiting until the last minute (Monday, August 17) to publicly unveil his Emergency Election Plan, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin found himself locked in a stalemate with Gov. Edwards and the state legislature.
Yesterday, Gov. Edwards made it clear that he intends to veto the plan, arguing that it doesn’t go far enough to protect public health in the midst of the pandemic. Sec. Ardoin countered by saying that he would not alter the plan, and that it was devised based on what he believed would be able to pass the Republican-dominated legislature.
As Gov. Edwards noted upon declaring his resistance to the plan, the issue is likely to be decided in federal court. Those legal proceedings will likely revolve around a lawsuit that the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has already filed on behalf of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, the Louisiana state conference of the NAACP, and three individual voters.
With the Governor, Secretary of State, and legislature all seemingly deeply entrenched in their positions, today’s hearing on the Emergency Election Plan in front of the House & Governmental Affairs committee, and tomorrow’s hearing in front of the Senate & Governmental Affairs committee, appear to have been rendered moot. Nonetheless, legislators, legislative staff, concerned citizens, and members of the Power Coalition team will be there to observe the proceedings and provide input.
“Our number one concern is having safe, fair elections where every Louisianan can feel comfortable voting,” said Ashley Shelton, executive director of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. “The plan that Sec. Ardoin put forward clearly didn’t go far enough to alleviate our concerns. That’s why we sued him when we were getting dangerously close to the election without any plan at all, and will continue on with that lawsuit now that we’ve seen how inadequate his plan eventually turned out to be. There’s no reason why Louisiana should be so far behind almost every other state on this issue.”
The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice works to build voice and power in traditionally ignored communities. We are a coalition of groups from across Louisiana whose mission is to organize in impacted communities, educate and turn out voters, and fight for policies that create a more equitable and just system in Louisiana.
Who: Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
What: In the face of a political standoff over the state’s plans for administering elections in the fall, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice will continue with our federal lawsuit that we hope will ultimately ensure safe and fair elections for all Louisiana voters.
When: August 19, 2020
Ashley Shelton, Executive Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (225) 802-2435, email@example.com
Peter Robins-Brown, Communications Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (504) 256-8196, firstname.lastname@example.org