Backers of the proposed city of St. George say they won’t turn in any additional names they have collected to add to their petition until the end of the 60-day period they have to gather them.
St. George advocates are trying to collect 1,500 more signatures to add to their petition to call for an election for the proposed city before the clock runs out by the end of May.
Their initial petition to call for the creation of a new city in the southern portion of the parish, which was filed in October, proved to be 2,694 signatures short of the necessary 17,859 valid signatures needed for an election.
They say they have collected 1,500 signatures since October and are trying to collect another 1,500 within the next 60 days to make up the difference of what’s needed.
St. George spokesman Lionel Rainey said backers plan to submit all of their additional names in one batch before the end-of-May deadline to turn them in. He said they initially planned to turn in the extra names in smaller increments but that the law is too vague for them to know for sure if doing so is allowed.
Signatures being tossed was a major problem with the original petition. Though it contained 18,353 names, the East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters Office deemed more than 3,000 of them invalid.
If St. George backers cannot come up with the necessary names and their petition is voided, they will have to wait two years before they can start the process again.
The St. George petition drive has hit roadblocks along the way.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III opened an official investigation on Monday into forgeries on the original petition after a man filed a formal complaint with his office saying that his signature had been forged. The Advocate identified six people in stories last month who said they had never signed the petition even though their names appeared on it.