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Al Ater: Courts may take over election if law unchanged

From this:

There's a danger the federal court will take over New Orleans elections if legislators don't change a law so more people can absentee vote, Secretary of State Al Ater said Thursday.
A federal takeover would be another black eye on the state in the wake of devastating hurricanes, Ater said.
"I could see the headlines across America right now," Ater said. "They'll say it's another thing that Louisiana can't handle on its own."
Under current law, people who register to vote by mail must vote in person at least once before they can cast an absentee ballot.
Ater wants lawmakers to temporarily lift that in-person voting provision, saying to do otherwise would disenfranchise voters who are dislocated through no fault of their own.
Legislators nixed the idea in the first hurricane-special session amid fears of potential voter fraud. Opponents pointed to the thousands of mail registrants who have never voted...

Louisiana Dems: "regrouping" or trying to rig elections?

Perhaps it's both. Secretary of State Al Ater says that Feb. 4's New Orleans election cannot be held because of destroyed voting machines, scattered commisioners, and the like. However, delaying the elections to Sep. 2006 will also give LA time to get back all those constituents, most of whom are - quite coincidentally I'm sure - Democrats.

...FEMA has also changed its mind about helping the state contact displaced voters. Instead, Attorney General Charles Foti got ahold of FEMA's list of names and addresses, and now the state will send out a letter to evacuees. The draft of the letter lets evacuees know exactly what their voting rights are, but it also directs them to have their mail forwarded through the postal service, which will make their whereabouts known and fair game for political parties and candidates.
Ater admits it will only take a few months to solve election problems in New Orleans, but he's given up to nine months for the Orleans election to be set. This gives more time for evacuees to move home and for the state to track those who don't. Shortly after Katrina, political consultant Roy Fletcher predicted democrats would do this.
"The Ninth Ward elected Kathleen Blanco, the Ninth Ward elected Mary Landrieu, the Ninth Ward has elected a lot of statewide elected officials who are democrats," said Fletcher.
But Ater has distanced himself from the democratic party, announcing on Wednesday that he won't run for Secretary of State. As for republicans, the state party director, Ellen Davis, says the sooner we have elections, the better.

Comments on the rigged aspects here.

Evacuees could get virtual vote

From this:

Louisiana voters could vote in special out-of-state voting precincts under a plan suggested by Secretary of State Al Ater. Ater said he probably will ask a special session of the Legislature to give him the authority to open such out-of-state precincts if large clusters of Louisiana voters are living in those areas and still want to vote in Louisiana elections.
Ater told a special House-Senate panel looking at long-term revitalization and recovery from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita that there are more than 300,000 voters who are now out of their normal precincts and "dispersed all throughout America."

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