John Kean and Lea Williams recall, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana (2014)
An effort to recall John Kean and Lea Williams from their positions as police jurors of West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana was launched in July 2013. Supporters of the recall circulated petitions in order to qualify the recall question for the ballot. The recall effort was initiated after several West Feliciana Parish police jurors voted in favor of holding an October 2013 election that would decide whether to repeal the Parish's voter-approved charter. Both Kean and Williams voted in favor of scheduling the election.
The effort to recall Juror Lea Williams, who, at the time of the recall effort, represented District 1, was led by Becky Hilliard and Amy Betts. Meanwhile, Ellen Kennon and James R. Wood spearheaded the effort to recall Juror John Kean, who, at the time of the recall effort, represented District 5. The effort ultimately did not go to a vote.
In 2012, West Feliciana Parish residents approved a new home rule charter at the ballot box. However, the Parish's police jurors, who were slated to become parish council members upon the implementation of the new charter, voted 4-3 to hold a charter repeal election on October 19, 2013. At a public hearing hosted by the Parish police jury, residents expressed their strong opposition to the election, and the jury's attorney advised against approving it. However, the jury went ahead and voted in favor of the election to repeal the charter, which would implement a five-member parish council to replace the seven police jurors at the end of their terms. One member would be elected via a parishwide ballot, while four others would be selected from single-member districts. The jurors who voted in favor of the repeal election explained they had concerns with the manner in which the districting was laid out, saying it had the potential to dilute "minority voting strength."
At the hearing, Mel Percy, one of the three dissenting jurors said, “At the next meeting, I’d like to consider a full (recall) election on all of us.” He further declared that overruling the people's vote was "tyranny."The jury's refusal to listen to public sentiment engendered both a lawsuit challenging the election and the recall campaigns against Kean and Williams, both of whom, along with fellow jurors Melvin Young and Otis Wilson, voted in favor of a repeal election. The October repeal election was halted by the local judicial district court on July 10, 2013, but the recall campaign continued.
Path to the ballot
- See also: Laws governing recall in Louisiana
Recall supporters had 180 days to collect 362 signatures (one-third of the districts' registered voters) to trigger a recall election on Kean. They needed to collect 376 signatures to trigger a recall election on Williams. Supporters of the recall began to collect signatures, however nothing came of the effort.
- Recall campaigns in Louisiana
- Political recall efforts, 2013
- County commission recalls
- West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana
- The Advocate, "West Feliciana residents working to force recall elections," July 12, 2013
- West Feliciana Parish, "Contact the Council," accessed February 21, 2014
- The Advocate, "West Feliciana jurors vote for charter repeal election," July 11, 2013
- The Advocate, "West Feliciana won’t appeal judge’s ruling on charter election," July 23, 2013
- The Advocate, "West Feliciana charter battle generates recall petitions, lawsuit," July 3, 2013
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