Robichaux: Election qualifying is only 2 weeks away

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 24, 2019

With qualifying just two weeks away, election season is quickly heating up in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Several candidates vying for St. John parish president, parish council, sheriff, clerk of court and state representative seats recently announced intentions to run for office in the October 12 primary.

L’OBSERVATEUR’s election coverage is just getting started. I have plans to contact the candidates in each local race for a series of stories comparing their platforms. What are the top priorities for St. John Parish moving forward? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current leadership?

I want to know why these candidates care about the position they are running for and what they can bring to the table given their prior experience. For those incumbents running for re-election, I want to know their greatest contributions in office.

I cannot emphasize the importance of this upcoming election. As a resident, it’s easy to feel powerless in decisions made out of sight to determine how tax dollars are spent. Now is the time to exercise your right to vote and ensure your voice is heard.

According to Louisiana Secretary of State R. Kyle Ardoin, voter participation is critical to an effective and representative government. And as others have said, if you don’t exercise your right vote, you don’t have the right to complain.

It’s a responsibility that necessitates prior research. The ballot should not be the first time you see the candidates’ names. If change is the goal, we absolutely cannot look over the listing and pick the name that sounds the most familiar.

Change is coming one way or another in a select few elections where the incumbent is termed out. St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom is completing her term after 10 years, and a new administrative team will be assembled lead the parish next year.

District 3 Councilman Lennix Madere Jr., District 4 Councilman Marvin “Butch” Perrilloux, District 5 Councilman Michael Wright and District 6 Councilman Larry Snyder are also term-limited.

Comprehensive information on who is running for each office will be available after official qualifying, held August 6-8. We are here to be a resource to the community.

However, election season research doesn’t have to wait. Start now by reviewing the St. John Clerk of Court and Louisiana Secretary of State websites. Voter registration and election information are available now, and there is no cost to register.

In-person registration is available at the St. John Parish Registrar of Voters Office, located inside the St. John Parish Government Building on Airline Highway in LaPlace. The deadline to register in person is September 11, and the deadline to register online is September 21. Please call 985-652-9797 for more information.

WIC, food stamp and Medicaid offices also offer in-person registration, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State. Applicants are required to prove age, residency and identity.

Please inform the Registrar of Voters with any changes to residential addresses to ensure you vote in the correct polling location. Ballots will differ based on address. For instance, someone who lives in Parish Council District 3 would not see the candidates for the Parish Council District 7 race on his or her ballot. Call 985-652-9569 or visit to locate your district.

Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on the October 12 primary. Early voting is September 28 to October 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. — except Sunday, September 29 — at the St. John Parish Government Complex in LaPlace and at the St. John Courthouse in Edgard.

Absentee mail ballots are an option for senior citizens and homebound or disabled residents. The deadline to request an absentee by mail ballot is October 8.

If no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote in the primary election, the two top vote getters will face off in a November 16 run-off.

Election notifications are available through the GeauxVote app on any smart phone or tablet. The app includes reminders for voting dates, times, locations and all-important sample ballots to be released two weeks prior to the election.

Please stay tuned to L’OBSERVATEUR for coverage on what’s on the ballot, as the outcome will be the start of a new chapter for St. John the Baptist Parish. It’s up to the voters to decide what story that chapter will tell.


Brooke Robichaux is news editor for L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545