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NOLIA VOTE: Simplifying the November 6th Elections in New Orleans

Who and what to vote on at the upcoming midterm elections

Elevate and educate yourself and the city by voting on November 6, 2018.

It’s undoubtedly safe to say that with the rise of social media over the years, the platform for politics has expanded. Sadly, it’s hard to make the distinction whether social media has had a positive or negative affect on our society. Bottom line, elections are here, and it’s your time to contribute by exercising your American rights. What rights are those? Most importantly, the right to vote. Whether you’re female, male, black, or white, understanding who and what you’re voting on is essential to the foundation of life.

WHY DON’T PEOPLE VOTE?

For a while now I have been struggling with understanding why people choose not to vote. Although voting isn’t easily accessible to all, it’s a small majority (i.e. the elderly, disabled, etc.). When I really sat down and thought about it, I came to the conclusion that people are confused about voting. Or, they really don’t feel as if their ‘one’ personal vote can make a difference. As someone who is susceptible to the land of the law on a regular basis, I believe it comes down to the language within the law, which ultimately creates intimidation and confusion as to what one is specifically voting on.This is an attempt to speak outside of the “Article and Section lingo”.

Going back to the rise of social media in today’s society and its effects on politics, I wanted to attempt to lay out who and what’s up for grabs in November. The underlying is my attempt to provide you with a simpler explanation of who and what you will be voting for come November 6, 2018, specifically in Orleans Parish.

If you live in the surrounding area, the categories of voting are similar. All you have to do is head to the  Secretary of State to see who and what will be up for election in the district that you live (ironically, we will be voting on a new Secretary of State for the state of Louisiana).

AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION:

I wanted to first take on the Amendments to the Constitution that you can vote on this upcoming election. If you’re going to vote, these are important, as they can be the most effective to you and your families everyday life.

In the spotlight is Amendment No. 2. The upcoming vote proposes a change to the current law that allows split-jury verdicts on serious felonies. Of the 50 states, only Louisiana and Oregon allow an accuser to be convicted of a serious felony if 10 or 12 jurors vote to convict. In the court of law, decisions are made based on reasonable doubt, which is the basis of innocent until proven guilty.

There are six Amendments to be voted on come November 6, 2018. Citizens of Orleans Parish will vote on the following below. If you’re interested in reform, VOTE!

AMENDMENT NO. 1: PREVIOUS FELONS IN PUBLIC OFFICE

To prohibit a convicted felon to run for public office after 5 years of their completed sentence

Vote YES: To prohibit a convicted felon to run for public office 5 years after their sentence is completed.

Vote NO: To allow a convicted felon the opportunity to run for office.

AMENDMENT NO. 2: UNANIMOUS JURY FOR NON-CAPITAL FELONIES

Proposes that a unanimous jury be required to sentence all non-capital felonies

Vote YES: To require a unanimous jury when sentencing someone who’s been accused on a non-capital felony. Pretty much, everyone in the Jury has to be on the same page of either ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’.

Vote NO: Deny the proposed change and allow the accused to be convicted, if 10 of 12 jurors vote to do so.

AMENDMENT NO. 3: PERMIT DONATIONS FROM ONE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION TO ANOTHER

To permit the donation/use of public equipment or personnel by one political subdivision to another for authorized activities

Vote YES: To allow a neighboring parish to use public equipment and/or personnel for authorized activities.

Vote NO: To deny a neighboring parish to use public equipment and/or personnel for authorized activities.

AMENDMENT NO. 4: TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND

To end the permit of transferring funds from the Transportation Trust Fund to the Louisiana State Police for traffic control purposes

Vote YES: End the practice of transferring infrastructure funds from the Transportation Trust Fund to the State Police for the use of traffic control.

Vote NO: Allow the transfer of funds from the Transportation Trust Fund to the State Police.

AMENDMENT NO. 5: EXTEND ELIGIBILITY OF SPECIAL TAX EXEMPTIONS

To expand property trust tax exemptions for special persons (elderly, disabled veterans, surviving spouse of first responders)

Vote YES: To expand the current tax exemptions for special persons to include designating their property into a trust or the transfer of a property to another designated individual. Upon the death of the special persons, the exemption would end.

Vote NO: To deny the expansion of the special tax exemption. The owner of the property would not be able to place it into a trust.

AMENDMENT NO. 6: REAPPRAISAL OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

The reappraisal of increasing residential property taxes

Vote YES: To allow homeowners whose property tax increases more than 50% in one year due to reappraisal to pay those taxes over a rate of over 4 years. The 4 year phase would provide residents time to financially prepare at the face of increasing property taxes.

Vote NO: To deny homeowners whose property tax increases more than 50% in one year due to reappraisal the eligibility to pay those taxes at a rate of over 4 years.

I thought this chart by Indivisible New Orleans was great. It further explains the Amendments to the Constitution that will be on the ballot.

2018 ballot amendments

FANTASY SPORTS BALLOT PROPOSITION

Vote YES: To legalize fantasy sports in Orleans Parish.

Vote NO: To keep fantasy sport winnings “illegal” in Orleans Parish.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE(S) FOR THE STATE OF LOUISIANA

What is a State Representative?

A United States Representative makes and passes federal laws. The number of US Representative’s is relative to each state and is based on the state’s population.  For Orleans Parish, there are two separate Districts to vote on:

1st and 2nd Congressional Districts Candidates:

  • Lee Ann Dugas, D
  • Jim Francis, D
  • Frederick “Ferd” Jones, I
  • Howard Kearny, L
  • Tammy M. Savoie, D
  • Steve Scalise, R (currently represents Louisiana in office)
  • Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste, I
  • Cedric Richmond, D
  • Shawndra Rodriguez, N
  • Jesse Schmidt, N

More information about each candidate and their positions is available here.

SECRETARY OF STATE OF LOUISIANA

What are the duties of the Louisiana Secretary of State?

If you’re attempting to start a business, the role of the Secretary of State should be important to you. And, if you’re unhappy with the political views of the Louisiana Secretary of State that’s voted into office while opening your business, then you’ll have to wait another 4 years to elect a new one. You also must register to vote under the Secretary of State.

For instance, if you wanted to open a franchise to an already-established business in Louisiana, your first step would be to go to the Secretary of State’s website for more information.

Pretty much, the Secretary of State is a bookkeeper. The role varies for each state based on its population. The elected individual is responsible for providing business owners and Louisiana citizens with innovative programs and services that are available to them in their state.

Secretary of State Candidates:

  • Kyle Ardoin, R
  • Heather Cloud, R
  • Gwen Collins-Greenup, D
  • A.G. Crowe, R
  • Rick Edmonds, R
  • Renee Fontenot Free, D
  • Thomas J. Kennedy III, R
  • Matthew Paul “Matt” Moreau, N
  • Julie Stokes, R

CIVIL DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, DIV. E

What is the role of a Civil District Court Judge?

It’s my opinion that citizens, even outside of New Orleans, and even Louisiana, find it hard to make the distinction between the roles of a Civil Court versus a Criminal Court. When people ask me if I can “hook them up” with an attorney for their criminal case, without knowing that I only work in civil law, it tells me a lot about the lack of knowledge our public officials have failed to provide us with.

Civil Court versus Criminal Court. The distinction between the two pertains to the issue at hand. Each Court is susceptible to an entirely different set of rules, legislation, and Judges. There are no Criminal Court elections taking place in this upcoming election.

Cases that go to Civil Court involve domestic, employment, race, discrimination, monetary, and many more issues. They’re ‘civil’ issues.

Cases in Criminal Court are obviously more serious and typically bring a different level of tragedy. They involve individuals that pose a threat to society.

CDC, Division E Judge Candidates:

  • Omar Mason, D
  • Richard Perque, D
  • Kenneth M. Plaisance, D
  • Marie Williams, D

Civil District Court Clerk Candidates:

  • Jared Brossett, D
  • Chelsey Richard Napoleon, D

Again, I am only highlighting the candidates up for grabs in ORLEANS PARISH. But, most importantly, there’s a plethora of issues and candidates to be voted on in the surrounding areas of Orleans Parish. BE SURE TO LOOK AT ALL BALLOTS HERE.

Getting back to social media’s impact on us as a society, it’s easy to highlight both the positive and negative aspects. Going forward, social media, the internet, and our ‘virtual beings’ within will continue to increase; but it doesn’t have to be negative. Even though the internet provides a shield for people to voice their opinions (without precaution), it also increases awareness for issues that need to be properly addressed if we want to be united both as a nation, state, and parish.

#TWERKTHEVOTE: Check out the newest remix to 5th Ward Weebie’s LET ME FIND OUT (VOTE!). Directed by BMike filmed by Andrew Bui. Features TwerkNOLA girls.

In conclusion, it’s important to vote. Do it on November 6, 2018.

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