St. George leaders review petition validation, prepare to 'move on to next stage' _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Lorraine Beaman waves to traffic to draw attention as St. George organizers collect petition signatures on Jones Creek Road.

But what if you signed the petition, then signed a form to withdraw your name from the petition, and then changed your mind again wanting to reinstate your name on the petition? Is there a form for that?

St. George organizers say yes. Their official Facebook page this weekend told readers:

“Do you regret withdrawing your name from the petition? Were you given misinformation about this effort? It’s not too late! You can nullify your withdrawal. Message us here or call us at (225) 366-7764 for more information.”

Lionel Rainey, St. George spokesman, said Monday that they’re preparing to circulate a “legal document prepared by our lawyers” that would be similar to the withdraw form.

But the East Baton Rouge Parish Registrar’s Office says they’ve never heard of an effort to “withdraw your withdrawal form,” as Aimee Pourciau, registrar’s office spokeswoman interpreted it.

“The law allows the incorporation to gather signatures for the petition, and the law lets signers remove their names from that petition,” she said. “But there’s no provision to remove or add names after that.”

Pourciau said as she understands it, her office will not accept forms allowing people to add their names back on the petition after they’ve submitted withdrawal forms.

Mary Olive Pierson, an attorney representing the city-parish against St. George, said the latest effort to get people to rescind their withdrawals sounded “squirrely” and unlawful.

“How undecided can you be?” Pierson said.

St. George doesn’t have many options. They turned in their last batch of signatures last weeks in hoping of shoring up 25 percent of registered voters in the area. With more than, 4600 signatures turned in to close a gap of 2,700, their margins looked promising. But if they’re short by even one single name, the petition is voided.

Better Together has the added benefit, under state law, of being able to continue to collect and submit forms of people withdrawing their names up until the point that the petition is verified.