NEW ORLEANS — The group petitioning for a recall of Jefferson
Parish President Mike Yenni is continuing its drive toward the
required number of signatures for their goal.
However, a ruling from a Louisiana judge dampened their hope of
getting more signatures during the election cycle last fall as the group's
request to petition nearer the polling places got rejected.
One of the major obstacles faced by the sponsors of the recall
petition is the prohibition against politicking within 600 feet of
the polling spots. The group claimed in a Nov. 14 article on
www.nola.com that it is
“suffering irreparable harm” because of the state law. To this
end, they sought to block Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer from
implementing the law.
According to recall leader attorney Roberts Evans III in the article, the
disputed state law has been superseded by the 1995 Louisiana Supreme
Court decision that allowed campaigners to gather signatures for
their petitions 100 feet from the polling places. Hence, the "the
600-foot rule” has been in place unjustly for years.
However, shortly before the Dec. 10 elections, Judge Stephen
Enright Jr. of the 24th Judicial District Court rejected the recall
sponsors’ claims and upheld the state law on politicking, according
to a Dec. 5 article by The Advocate. Apart from the judge, the
600-foot law was also supported by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff
"The attorney general is obligated to defend laws passed by
our Legislature and enacted by our governor. Consistent with opinions
from two prior attorneys general, General Landry believes the
electioneering law is constitutional. The attorney general's role in
this matter has always been legally limited to defending a law whose
constitutionality was called into question and to representing the
registrar of voters as required by law,” Landry's press secretary,
Ruth Wisher, said in a statement, according to the The Times-Picayune.
Last fall, Yenni faced intense backlash when it was revealed that
he had been sharing allegedly improper texts with a 17-year-old boy.
The scandal was exposed prior to the November elections in a WWL-TV
report about Yenni being investigated by the FBI over the alleged
texts. The Jefferson Parish community erupted in outrage with several of its
members calling for a resignation from their parish president.
For the Yenni recall petitioners to succeed, they would need
approximately 90,000 signatures out of the 270,000 residents of
Jefferson Parish, according to The Times-Picayune. The deadline to
meet this goal is early April.
Volunteer coordinator Mikey Bowler shared with WWL-TV
in mid-December that they had gathered 40,000 to 50,000 signatures to
that point. Bowler at that time believed that they could still
According to a Dec. 27 article on The Advocate's website, the next
scheduled election in Jefferson Parish is in 2019.
Yenni’s texting scandal made headlines again recently when Alex
Daigle, the teenager he shared texts with, wrote a story detailing
their illicit relationship. Daigle, who is a freshman at Brown
University in Providence, Rhode Island, gave
a statement to and did an interview with The Tab in December
explaining why he
wrote the article – which was published in The Tab in February 2016
– about his texting relationship with Yenni. Daigle said the
article was in “no way meant to be a personal attack” and was
written to serve as “an example of dangerous, predatory behaviors
within our community that might be overlooked without an active voice
making them heard.”
In November, Yenni told Fox 8 that he sent “off-color” texts
to Daigle, but that there was no sex or sexual contact between them.
Yenni also claimed that some of the allegations in Daigle's article