JONESBORO, La. (KTVE/KARD) — A recall effort is underway by a community committee in Jonesboro to remove mayor James Harris from office.
The community committee, called Fit-to-Fight for Justice and Equality, consists of Danettia Hayes, Henry Bradley, former mayor Leslie Thompson, and city councilman Devin Flowers.
Thompson says voting irregularities are one of the main concerns.
“We had to decide whether to look at this from the criminal standpoint, which we really didn’t want to do when there are voting irregularities, such as voting suppression, and those types of things folks haven’t been able to vote for. It’s really a civil matter.”
Mayor James Harris addresses the recall.
“It’s very hard to lose by a small margin. You can lose by a 1,000, and it’s okay, but if you lose by 20, then it’s kind of hard. It’s something that has not been accepted by the council member Flowers and the former mayor Leslie Thompson.
The committee collected 811 signatures only to have 134 names disqualified, of which 49 were removed.
Thompson challenged the authority of the Jackson Parish Registrar of Voters in her role to remove the 49 names.
“We filed the lawsuit based on opposition, which was that the registrar did not have the discretion, nor did she have the authority to disqualify names, and of course, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals held that ruling, and they made a decision 20 years ago that would not give that discretion.”
After reviewing that the registrar, in fact, did not have the discretion to remove these names, Thompson says a judge ruled to place those 49 names back to the petition.
“Voting suppression is not something that we have to deal with in Jackson Parish. We want to make sure that the voting process, that we are actually challenging, is the integrity of the electoral process. That’s all we are doing.”
“Every single vote counts. It is within the former mayor’s rights to challenge who is allowed and who is not allowed in any kind of discrepancy,” explained Harris.
The recall petition will be sent back to the Governor’s office to be considered in whether or not to be put on the ballot for the 2024 Elections.