[StBernard] voter domicile issue

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Tue Dec 13 22:30:11 EST 2011

First of all, I would like to thank you for the service of allowing
residents to disseminate information and also voice opinions. I have been a
subscriber since 2006 while evacuated to Arkansas and gained much useful
information not widely available in my efforts to return and rebuild.

That being said, I feel only residents who struggled to return home to St.
Bernard actually know the true sacrifices, both emotional and financial,
that were made to rebuild and once again call St. Bernard home. It was an
enormous risk to return to the unknown, not knowing what would the future of
the parish would be. Living in a FEMA trailer in one's deserted neighborhood
in complete darkness was only one of the small challenges we faced.
Admittedly, those who decided to put their businesses back in the parish
certainly also took a risk but they didn't place their home and families in
that equation. I certainly fault no one for not returning, it was an
individual decision for the best of one's future and family. However, I am
of the belief that only residents of the parish should have the right to
vote in St. Bernard elections.

Obviously, I disagree with your opinion that those who work, own businesses
and pay taxes in St. Bernard should be able to vote. Copied from the
Secretary of State website below the voter registration form states:

"To qualify to register you must:

* Be a United States citizen
* Be at least 17 years old but must be 18 years old prior to next
election to vote
* Not be under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony
* Not be under a judgement of full interdiction for mental
incompetence or partial interdiction with suspension of voting rights
* Reside in the state and parish in which you seek to register "

Arguably, the displaced Katrina clause which is currently open ended has
left a loop hole that needs to be closed and hope fully will be addressed in
2012 legislation. In my humble opinion, the majority have established
domicile six years later, unless that unfortunate person is still struggling
with insurance and road home issues as is the case in a few instances.

As for Mr. Rupp's challenge, I attended the court hearing and heard
testimony of a ROV employee who stated under oath that Mr. Rupp came to the
ROV office to challenge in July and October. Mr. Rupp testified Ms Bourg
refused the written correspondence in both instances. Ms Bourg also
testified that the ROV had never had a challenge before and was unsure to
how to proceed . How can one utilize the correct challenge procedure if the
ROV is not sure of the proper procedure and does not take steps to address
same in a timely manner and communicate results to the challenger?

Mr. Rupp publicly stated that even if the challenged votes resulted in a
negative impact on his behalf, he just wanted the entire voting process,
parish wide as well as district, to be transparent and fair.

Currently, voters in Egypt as risking their lives protesting improper voting
and I think the issue here in St. Bernard and the State of Louisiana should
be taken just as seriously. Too many in history have sacrificed too much to
have the privilege and honor to vote be violated.

In closing, I hope we all agree to disagree respectfully and continue on our
long road to recovery in the parish that I love and where I live.

Debby Rosenberger

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