Early voting begins March 12 on sales tax renewal in St. John Parish

Published 3:42 pm Thursday, March 10, 2022

LAPLACE — The sole item on the ballot for the March 26 election asks voters to renew a quarter-cent sales tax supporting the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Early voting begins Saturday, March 12 and will continue through March 19, excluding Sunday, March 13. Residents who wish to vote early may do so in person between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the St. John the Baptist Parish Registrar of Voters offices located at 1811 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace and 2393 Hwy. 18 in Edgard.

Sheriff Mike Tregre emphasized that the Law Enforcement District Proposition is a renewal, not a new tax. First approved in 2012, quarter-cent tax requires approval from voters to be renewed for an additional 10 years.

If approved, the sales tax will continue collecting an estimated $2,400,000 per year for the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office for the purpose of paying salaries and benefits of current and additional law enforcement personnel, acquiring technology and equipment enhancements, and funding capital improvements.

“This quarter cent sales tax has helped keep St. John Parish safer,” Tregre said. “We’ve continued to invest in ever-changing technology, and this quarter-cent sales tax will help us initiate the process of obtaining body cameras.”

Body cameras have become commonplace in law enforcement agencies nationwide as invaluable tools for collecting indisputable evidence, while also promoting officer accountability. As the St. John Sheriff’s Office works toward a goal of obtaining body cameras by the end of 2022, Tregre said he has already seen the influence crime cameras have on criminal investigations.

“The crime camera has become the witness,” Tregre said. “People are not coming forward with information, and the crime camera has been the most reliable witness we have.”

According to Tregre, the sales tax also allows the St. John Sheriff’s Office to remain competitive with other law enforcement agencies in the Metro area when it comes to hiring.

“I’ve been fortunate to get this sales tax passed previously, and it has allowed me to not only hire more people, but retain them. This is very important to the Sheriff’s Office,” Tregre said.

Residents can use the free smartphone app GeauxVote Mobile to locate Election Day voting sites and view the March 26 sample ballot.

GeauxBot, the virtual voter assistant, helps residents access election information including registration deadlines, upcoming election dates and polling locations 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting voterportal.sos.la.gov.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, polling commissioners will be supplied with personal protective equipment and will regularly sanitize designated areas and wipe down voting machines between each voter. Hand sanitizer will also be provided to voters. Face coverings are recommended but not required.

Voters should bring a Louisiana driver’s license, a Louisiana Special ID, a generally recognized ID with a picture and signature, or a digital license via LA Wallet.

For more information about the March 26 election, contact the Elections Division at 800-883-2805 or email elections@sos.la.gov.