City of New Orleans Releases Statement on Polling Site Functionality and Generators

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Nov. 1, 2020

Contact: LaTonya Norton

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(504) 658-4962

City of New Orleans Releases Statement on Polling Site Functionality and Generators

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today released a statement regarding polling site functionality for Election Day, in wake of widespread power outages caused by the impact of Hurricane Zeta last week. As many as 11 polling sites may be without power by Tuesday, Nov. 3, and the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office has refused to take responsibility for supplying needed generator power.


At this time: Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and his Commissioner of Elections, Sherri Wharton Hadskey, are refusing to provide support for generators to power as many as 11 polling sites which may still be without service on Tuesday. In failing to fulfill its duty, the Secretary of State’s office risks disenfranchising Orleans residents and threatens to suppress the vote. Further, the Secretary’s office has taken the unprecedented position that City employees and resources must be pressed into service to fulfill critical functions that his office will not — including the transport, installation and maintenance of the generators, at City expense.


The City continues recovery efforts related to the storm, which may ultimately be categorized as a Category 3 upon further review at the federal level.


“The Louisiana Secretary of State has an urgent responsibility to ensure that every voter has the opportunity to make their voice heard this Tuesday. As our people continue to recover from the impact of a devastating hurricane that claimed lives and disrupted power for thousands — Kyle Ardoin’s office is only increasing our burden,” said Mayor Cantrell. “We continue to confront every crisis 2020 has thrown our way, from the global pandemic to a relentless hurricane season, and to absorb the tremendous financial costs that have come with them. But for the Louisiana Secretary of State to add to that burden now, and to threaten the votes of our people at such a critical time, is absolutely unacceptable. The City cannot and should not take on this liability. The Secretary of State is responsible for effectively managing this election, and every election.”


The Mayor is joined in her concern by the New Orleans City Council. Council Vice President Helena Moreno said:

"We in the City of New Orleans have proven to and will continue to confront and counteract voter suppression. We will always protect our people’s constitutional right to vote. In the wake of a major hurricane, the Secretary’s callous disregard for his basic duties threatens the voting rights of New Orleanians. His inaction is despicable and unacceptable. Make no mistake, we will make all efforts to ensure all can vote."

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