FOX 8 Investigation leads to Capitol discussion, but no action

FOX 8 Investigation leads to Capitol discussion, but no action

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - State Rep. Pat Smith used Lee Zurik's "Holding the Vote" investigation as leverage to try and make changes to the Registrar of Voters' office.

"There needs to be some controls that are put on the (registrar of voters)," Smith said.

On Tuesday she testified in front of the House and Governmental Committee, pushing her bill to limit ROV terms to four years instead of indefinitely.

"It does not preclude or exclude them from being reappointed because they could indeed apply for the job again. But I found out so many things about this job in particular. It's not transparent. It's extremely not transparent," she said.

FOX 8's investigation uncovered that ROVs in our area make six-figure salaries and fill out their own evaluations, which allows them to give themselves a pay raise.

More than a dozen ROVs came to the committee meeting to oppose Smith's bill.

"We feel these bills would place the office of registrar of voters under political influence. It would removed trained, experience and competent staff immediately prior to major elections if you reappoint us every four years," St. Charles Registrar of Voters Brian Champagne told committee members.

Smith's bill ultimately failed. She voluntarily deferred the bill when she had little to no backing from the committee.

"I read the writing on the wall. The bill is not going to pass," she told members.

The House and Governmental Committee did agree to start a study of registrar of voters. The study will look into what can be done to promote more oversight in their offices and if term limits are needed, but there is no time-table set on when the study will be completed.

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