Jefferson Parish voters registrar may recuse himself in Yenni recall effort

By Dawn Geske | Nov 20, 2016

ELMWOOD – As part of the recall effort against Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni, the parish registrar of voters may decide to recuse himself from the signature authentication process.

Jefferson Parish Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco is leaning toward recusing himself from any involvement in the recall of Yenni. DiMarco would normally be responsible for certifying signatures to put a recall of the parish president before voters.

DiMarco sits on the committee in charge of validating signatures and has had accusations lodged against him that claim he has a potential for bias in the matter. DiMarco has a friendship with Yenni and political ties to Yenni that indicate he may not be able to remain impartial when verifying signatures as part of the recall efforts against Yenni.

“Every vote that should be counted should be counted,” Peter Russell, an attorney with McBride & Russell Law Firm LLC told the Louisiana Record. “Every vote that can’t be confirmed should be removed. It’s the same thing for a recall. You need to have some creditability behind those people authenticating the signatures of the registered voters that are signing up to recall Yenni.”

DiMarco’s ties to the Yenni family include a stint working as the parish’s finance chief under Yenni’s grandfather Joseph S. Yenni and uncle Michael J. Yenni. He also served on the transition teams for Yenni when he was elected mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, and also when he became parish president in 2015.

If recused, there will be four members of Jefferson Parish’s board of elections left to validate signatures. This includes Jon Gegenheimer, Michael M. Davis, David Gereighty and Polly Thomas.

While DiMarco has said he will possibly recuse himself to remove any doubt in voters’ minds about the recall efforts, Russell is quick to say that it’s not personal with DiMarco and he is sure that he could do the task at hand, but it is more of keeping the situation as objective as possible.

“I think he should recuse himself,” said Russell. “It has nothing to do with him personally. I’m sure he would be objective in this, but it’s not about him personally. It’s about maintaining the integrity of the signature. Then, voters can rely upon that without any questions going forward.”

Part of the reason for the recall against Yenni stems from a Federal Bureau of Investigation case regarding him allegedly sending a 17-year old boy texts and purportedly kissing him at a local mall. He has been urged to step down from his post by several parish officials but has refused, instead apologizing for his actions that he claims do not affect his ability to do his job. The recall effort seeks to remove him from his position by voters.

“I think most voters in Jefferson parish where there’s a strong conservative base are tired of political inside corruptness,” said Russell. “I think that you’ll see Yenni recalled and it will be a successful campaign.”

The recall efforts are being led by Robert Evans III of Evans Law in Metairie, Louisiana.

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