The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit earlier this month against Louisiana alleging the state has violated its obligations to the National Voter Registration Act by failing to provide voter registration services at various public assistance offices such as the food stamp offices and Medicaid offices.
The Justice Department filed the suit July 12. The complaint alleges that Louisiana officials have not routinely offered voter registration forms, assistance and services to the state’s eligible citizens who apply, recertify or provide a change of address for public assistance, disability services or benefits.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler said his office will fight the accusations, and he said he doesn’t want to just settle the suit for the sake of settling.
Schedler said employees in those offices have been trained to offer voter registration information to citizens. If the citizen chooses not to register or gives some excuse as to why they can’t, employees then have to get try to get citizens to sign an affidavit saying the registration was offered.
“My job as secretary of state is to coordinate and train those personnel, and we do that vigorously as far as I am concerned,” Schedler said. “I am not naïve to believe if you have 50 people in line for food stamps and one irate customer screaming at you that the personnel could inadvertently fail to offer to register for voting. I wouldn’t even stand up in a court of law and say that couldn’t happen.”