Efforts to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell reached a milestone on Wednesday (Feb. 22) as organizers announced they have gathered enough signatures to "trigger a referendum" on Mayor Cantrell.

While recall organizers Eileen Carter and Belden "Noonie Man" Batiste delivered boxes of signatures to City Hall, they did not disclose or issue a "hard count" of the valid signatures they have gained to date.

During a press conference that took place subsequent to their delivery of the signatures, Eileen Carter said that their decision to withhold the exact amount of signature is due to a lawsuit that was filed last week against Sandra Wilson, the Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters.

Our committee is confident that we have secured enough valid petitions to be certified, and for a special election to be called. Our legal team has advised us not to publicize the exact number of petitions that will be turned over to the registrar's office due to pending litigation with the Orleans Parish registrar of voters and the Louisiana secretary of state regarding the exact number of active registered voters in Orleans Parish.

While Wilson's office has 20 days to sort through every signature sheet in order to validate the individuals who signed the recall, it may be days until we even know how many people—valid or invalid—have signed the petition to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

NOLA.com pointed out that Cantrell made history as the City of New Orleans' first Black female mayor and could soon make history once again as the first to face a recall election and the first to be ousted from office as a result.

Carter and Batistes started their recall effort back on August 26, 2022, needing nearly 50,000 signatures to trigger the recall. Their current lawsuit against the registrar of voters claims that inaccuracies and outdated information could actually make that number even lower.

The lawsuit alleges that Wilson has failed to move voters with outdated information from the active to the inactive voter list. If the recall campaign succeeds in having 33,000 names moved to the inactive rolls, its goal would drop by 6,500 names.

During today's press conference, organizers described the difficult journey they have endured to get to this point in their recall efforts. Although many didn't believe it was possible for them to achieve their goals they still thanked New Orleanians for their support thus far saying they are confident they have gathered the necessary amount of signatures to recall the mayor.

While it is a significant step, organizers reminded New Orleans residents that it was only the first step in the process. Carter voiced that she wanted an expedited special election as opposed to waiting until the fall.

According to NOLA.com, organizers were able to use technology that allowed them to verify signatures instantly which is one of the factors that makes them feel confident in the number of undisclosed signatures they delivered to city hall on Wednesday afternoon. Carter also stated that anyone who still wants to sign has five days to make it to the registrar's office to add their name to the list. When asked if the recent criticism of Mayor Cantrell as it relates to her controversial behavior during Mardi Gras had any effect on the recall efforts, a volunteer came forward and said that they saw a spike in residents who signed the petition after the New Orleans mayor made headlines for flipping off a float during the Tucks parade. https://twitter.com/1079isHot/status/1627418814844489728?s=20 As far as how the recall has been supported along party lines, Carter said they have seen strong bipartisan support when it comes to residents who want to see Cantrell gone. With that said, Carter also emphasized that the recall process is unfair; something that she realized in the process of organizing the current recall against Mayor Cantrell.

And in case you're wondering how Cantrell feels about the efforts to have her removed as mayor, a parking ticket on the recall van as organizers unloaded boxes of signatures was quite the sign.

It's worth noting that recall efforts against elected officials are often motivated by a variety of factors, including disagreements over policy decisions, dissatisfaction with the official's performance, allegations of misconduct or corruption, and political differences.

However, unless an official has engaged in serious wrongdoing or is failing to perform their duties, recall efforts tend to be relatively rare and difficult to successfully execute—especially given how rare recall elections are in Louisiana.

See the full story here at NOLA.com as we plan on updating this story and providing more information on the recall as it becomes available.

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