Interview with Jay Dardenne Part 1

July 11, 2007

Louisiana Conservative: “Secretary Dardenne, what exactly does the Secretary of State do?”
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Jay Dardenne: “Secretary of State is the chief elections officer of the state, so I am responsible for the entire election operation statewide. We have a fairly large staff of professional people who take care of our voting machines and the state owns all the voting machines that are used in the elections in Louisiana which is a little bit different from most jurisdictions, where it may very from county to county in a particuliar state. In Louisiana, we have a consistent form of elections, we have the same type of machine in place in every precinct in the state on election day. We use the same type of election devices for early voting in every precinct of the state, so we have a lot of continuity and we’re responsible for building the ballots, maintaining the machines, repairing the machines, servicing the machines, having them delivered on election day, and all that operation is within my pervue.”

“As a result of that, we’ve identified a list of 55,000 people that may be registered to vote in other states and still on the roles of Louisiana.”

LC: “What kind of legislation do you support to make sure we’re keeping fair elections in the state, if any?”

JD: “We have a very substantial election code in Louisiana that has evolved over the years. It’s pages of Louisiana statutory law that regulates our elections, sets the dates, provides direction to me, to clerks of court, to registars of voters, and all who have a role in the process, so we have a very sophisticate election code that ensures the integrity of the process. But obviously the process is only going to be as good as the people in charge of running it, and that falls to me, the clerks, the registars, and our employees to make sure that we safegaurd the process.”

LC: “What are you doing to make sure that people aren’t having twice the vote, in otherwords, are you working with other states to make sure that people can’t vote in Mississippi elections and Louisiana elections?”

JD: “We’ve requested information from a number of states regarding displaced Louisianians who have registered to vote in other states. Because there is no federal law that governs voter registration, we don’t have any continuity of information from state to state and we’re subject to the vaguers of the different laws of different states and the ability of different states to provide us with information regarding these voters. But we have had a significant amount of success from states that have had the largest number of Louisianians move into those states, and the jurisdictions that made the largest number of requests for absentee ballots in the races that have taken place since the storm.

“As a result of that, we’ve identified a list of 55,000 people that may be registered to vote in other states and still on the roles of Louisiana. We’ve developed a process to contact those people. That process is underway as we speak, to give notice to people that we have reason to believe they have registered [to vote] in another state and if they don’t cancel that registration in the other state, we are going to take steps to cancel their registration here in Louisiana, because I’m not going to allow someone that I know that is registered to vote in another state to also be eligible to vote in Louisiana. That’s a process we’ve developed, it is giving fair notice to people to remedy the situation, if they don’t, then we are going to take steps to remove them from the voting rolls.”My guess is, we knew that there was going to be some errors in that list of 55,000, that there would be some people who were not actually registered in two states, and this process that we developed has enabled us to identify those people, or a number of those people, and also to identify those people we have an identical match on. We are going to then follow up with the process that will take them off the voter rolls. I think at the end of the day, before this falls elections, there will be a significant number of people, it won’t be 55,000, but it will be multiple thousands of people that have been identified as having registered in another state and they aren’t going to be eligible to vote in Louisiana in the fall elections.”Part II of the interview with Secretary of State Jay Dardenne here


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