“We’ve read the court’s opinion, and we respectfully disagree. The court found that there was no motive on my behalf, but unfortunately, the outcome still equates to voter suppression for our citizens by my opponents,” Perkins said in a brief statement during a news conference called on the steps of the Caddo Parish Courthouse at 4 p.m.
“My opponents are attempting to use a clerical error to disqualify the sitting mayor of Shreveport that won election overwhelmingly, who grew up in Shreveport, who lives in Shreveport, who votes in Shreveport, from seeking re-election.”
“They are trying to deprive you, our citizens, of your rights, your constitutional rights, that I served our country and I fought to protect. Now let’s be clear. My opponents have ran several polls. In all of those polls, I am the most likely candidate to win this fall. This is nothing more than a desperate attempt by them to undermine our democratic process, to steal your voice, to steal your vote. My campaign team is going to appeal immediately. The voters should decide elections.”
Perkins spoke for two minutes and took no questions.
The ruling from Judge Brady O’Callaghan came early Tuesday afternoon, one day after a hearing in a lawsuit challenging Perkins’s candidacy. The suit was based on an alleged inaccurate residence address and voter registration on Perkins’ election-qualifying paperwork.
Louisiana law dictates that unless a candidate is in a nursing home, veterans’ home, or is running for the U. S. House or Senate, they must be registered to vote from the same address where they claim the homestead exemption.
The 65-page lawsuit claimed Perkins lives in a condominium on Marshall Street in downtown Shreveport and uses Louisiana’s homestead exemption for that residence, but was registered to vote using an address on Stratmore Circle. In his Notice of Candidacy filing on July 22, Perkins certified the Stratmore address in south Shreveport as his residence instead of the address of the condo where he claims his homestead exemption in downtown Shreveport.
It was confirmed in court during Monday’s hearing that Perkins changed his voter registration to his downtown address on Saturday, July 30, the day after the lawsuit was filed.
Louisiana law also provides that the filing of a false and/or inaccurate certification on a Notice of Candidacy disqualifies the candidate from the election that the candidacy has been filed.
From the time the ruling was issued early Tuesday afternoon Perkins had 24 hours to notify the Caddo Clerk of Court’s office of his plans to appeal the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Once the Clerk’s Office receives the notification, it has three days to prepare transcripts from the hearing.
When the transcripts are received at the Second Circuit, it has 48 hours to schedule a hearing. A hearing on the appeal could happen by the end of the week or the first of next week depending on when the transcripts are turned over to the Second Circuit.
If the ruling stands, Perkins will continue to serve as the mayor of Shreveport until his term ends this year when the winner of the mayor’s race is sworn into office.