Mayor Cantrell recall signatures divided by race, neighborhoods, analysis shows

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 5:05 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Those who signed the petition to recall New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell were mostly white people in neighborhoods where she did not have strong support, according to an analysis by The Times-Picayune/, the only media outlet to receive even a portion of the signatures turned in to the registrar of voters on Feb. 22.

Of more than 32,000 signatures recall organizers turned over to the paper, 76% were white voters and 15% were African Americans.

Pollster and Xavier Professor Silas Lee says it’s important not to pay too much attention to the race of those who signed.

“You have two aspects to it,” Lee said. “One is, you have the activists. That’s the people who are actually engaged in signing the petition and then you have those who get emotionally invested, but they don’t sign. We don’t see them.”

“Racially polarized voting patterns are not new to New Orleans,” Fox 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman said.

Sherman says he is not surprised by the racial disparity of those who signed the petition.

“We’ve seen evidence that African American mayors in New Orleans have a change of support from their first term to their second term,” he explained. “Look at Ray Nagin’s elections from ‘02 to ‘06. We’re seeing the same patterns repeat themselves to Mayor Cantrell. It’s very evident of who is signing this recall petition.”


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In addition to the racial gap, the paper says they took a sample of signatures, and of those, 37% came from people who live in Lakeview and Uptown.

“If the recall organizers thought they could get their most votes in Lakeview and Uptown, that’s probably where they should have focused their efforts from a strategic perspective,” Sherman said.

“A lot of attention and focus was on areas where the mayor did not have strong support,” Lee said.

The paper says its reporters collected additional details from every 42nd signature they encountered and cross-referenced that with the Orleans Parish voter rolls.

That gave the Times-Picayune a sample of 757 signatures. They say 35 of those were not Orleans Parish voters and six were duplicate signatures.

“It’s a small margin of error and it’s pretty accurate,” Lee said. “But again, you’re looking at signatures versus those who may go out to the polls.”

Historical data suggests about 20% of signatures were thrown out in previous recall efforts.

It’s still unclear how many signatures were actually collected.

The Times-Picayune received 10,000 pages of signatures with around 32,000 signatures on them. An additional 7,500 pages were turned in to the Orleans Parish registrar but not handed over to the paper for unknown reasons.

“Like many New Orleanians, I just want to know, did they get the number?” Sherman asked. “We’ve got more waiting to do.”

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