LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- A lawsuit was filed today against a Lafayette city-parish council approved ordinance aimed at fixing the Lafayette charter amendment.
The complainant, Keith Kishbaugh, filed the suit in an effort to seek an injunction halting the ordinance, which was meant to amend precinct errors.
Read the full lawsuit here.
In December, citizens voted to amend Lafayette’s charter and create two separate councils, one for the city and one for the parish. But 10 days later, the Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters began to notice errors in the amendment’s language, the Advertiser reported.
Put simply, a difference between precinct maps and precinct descriptions in the amendment language omitted parts of some precincts, resulting in hundreds of Lafayette residents being left out of the newly formed city government and throwing the legitimacy of the election into question.
While Attorney General Jeff Landry said the only way to properly fix the issue is to have a new vote — a special election could be held as soon as May 4, he said — Lafayette opted to forego that route with officials citing the cost of putting on a new election and concerns that low special election turnout could reverse the result of the December vote.
“When here we’re saying because what the Council has done is illegal, we’re asking that you tell them so, and enjoin them from proceeding in that illedal course,” said Attorney Lane Roy, who’s representing Kishbaugh.
“I’m sure it was inadvertent, but as a result of that, what the people voted on was illegal, you can’t just carve these people out, because what you’ve done is you’ve disenfranchised them,” he said.
Former Fix the Charter Pac President Carlee Alm-Labar says the issue needs to be resolved.
“I think everyone in the Parish wants the issue settled, and if it was going to the court, the sooner we can go to court and get a resolution then that’s what we want to do. And I think that’s true for everybody, we want to be able to move on with governing our City and Parish, whatever the outcome is,” said Alm-Labar.
Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux told News 10 over the phone, he hopes the lawsuit gets appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, and that it’s done as quickly as possible.
That way it will give voters regardless of what side they’re on, a clear resolution.
“Because that means it’s over and done with, we can put it to bed, and we’re not at the mercy of future lawsuits after the election,” said Mayor-President Robideaux.
Attorney Lane Roy believes there will be a hearing on this particular lawsuit, in the next week or so.