QUESTION: In your paper on Jan. 21, you printed a picture (page 8B of the Baton Rouge edition) of Kansas City Southern Railway crews removing old railway ties and replacing them with new ones on the line that runs north and south of the Siegen overpass. You said that the procedure is repeated about every five to 10 years. Old ties have been left on the side of the railway for years along the tracks from the last time ties were replaced. Is there any plan to dispose of old ties this time?

ANSWER: C. Doniele Carlson, a vice president of corporate communications and community affairs for The Kansas City Southern Railway Co., told us on Monday that a contractor for KCS began work in the Baton Rouge area that morning. “As part of their work, they will remove the ties lying alongside the track. The process is expected to last several weeks,” Carlson said.

Does vote, signature still count?

QUESTION: If a person who casts a ballot in early voting dies before the date of the actual election, does that person’s vote still count? Also, in the case of the St. George incorporation effort or in any recall petition effort, if a person dies after signing the petition but before the signatures have been validated by the Registrar’s Office, does that person’s signature still count?

ANSWER: Very interesting questions!

In the case of early voting, ballots cast in the early voting period still count, even if the voter dies before the final votes are tallied. Also counted, says Elaine Lamb, registrar of voters for East Baton Rouge, are any absentee-by-mail votes cast by people who die prior to election day.

Lamb notes that La. R.S. 18:1317, which previously prevented an absentee-by-mail vote cast by a voter who dies prior to the opening of the polls on Election Day from being counted, was repealed on May 14, 2012.

As for petitions, Lamb’s answer is more nuanced.

Petitions for incorporations, which are governed by La. R.S. 33:1, require valid signatures of at least 25 percent of the registered voters for the area in question at the time the petition is filed with the registrar of voters.

If the name of a signer who died before the petition was filed has been removed from the rolls, that vote is not counted. Lamb notes that under La. R.S. 18:173, the registrar of voters shall remove the names of deceased voters from voter registration rolls once the registrar is provided sufficient information to properly identify such voters.

“The signature of a voter who is deceased prior to the filing of the petition with the registrar, and their name has been removed from the rolls, may not be considered for certification by the registrar,” Lamb says.

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