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Long-Shot Recall Effort for Louisiana Governor Fails With Less Than 30K Signatures

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A long-shot effort to recall Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards came to an end on Friday after the secretary of state’s office said the petition had gathered fewer than 30,000 signatures.

Residents launched an effort to remove Edwards from office in response to the Democratic governor’s strict coronavirus restrictions and statewide mask mandate. To force a recall election in Louisiana, a petition needs nearly 600,000 signatures.

Only 26,679 signatures have been submitted by parish registrars of voters, according to secretary of state spokesman John Tobler.

The petition was first filed with the secretary of state’s office on August 29 by Lee Joseph Vidrine and Michael Lyn Vidrine. Supporters of the effort had 180 days to get signatures from 20 percent of voters in order to hold an election on whether to recall the governor.

The petition accused Edwards of “impeding the constitutional freedoms and livelihoods of all Louisiana citizens without concrete scientific data” and “unconstitutionally mandating that masks be worn in all public places.”

Edwards is serving his second term as governor after being reelected in 2019. He has stood by his executive orders, which have been upheld by several judges in the state.

Asked about the recall effort, a spokesperson from Edwards’ office told The Liberty Buzz, “The governor remains focused on the work of the people of Louisiana, as he has been since his first day in office.”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards talks to the media at a New Orleans barbershop on November 15, 2019. The recent effort to recall Edwards failed on Friday after failing to gain enough petition signatures.
Jonathan Bachman/Stringer

On Wednesday, Edwards announced he would relax some coronavirus regulations but said the statewide mask mandate will remain in place for the time being, even though neighboring governors in Texas and Mississippi have lifted their orders.

Edwards avoided commenting on the decisions by those states’ governors, Greg Abbott and Tate Reeves, but said his state’s experts have unanimously advised him to keep the mask mandate.

“I can’t be sure what their public health experts are telling them,” Edwards said. “I can only tell you here it’s unanimous among my experts and the CDC that for right now we need to continue to have reasonable restrictions in place that include wearing masks.

“If you tell people we’re going to remove the mask mandate and then tell them it remains important to wear the mask, they don’t hear the second part,” he added.

Louisiana’s coronavirus case count and hospitalization numbers have steadily decreased for the past six weeks, following a trend seen across the rest of the nation. However, Edwards said that now that other restrictions have been reduced, “it is even more critical that people take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and those around them.”

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