King Arthur doesn’t vote in JDP
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
Campaign season is here! This means you and I only have to suffer through automated phone calls and mudslinging until Nov. 4, which is just nine and a half weeks away.
Yes, I counted.
I had the vision-blurring task of following candidate qualifying throughout a three-day period recently, and I followed information for both Jeff Davis (JDP) and Acadia parishes. I’ve written in the past that I have lived in Acadia all my life but always worked in JDP. Especially since I have been a part of a newspaper that covers JDP for a total of nearly seven years, I have JDP’s political scene memorized – but not Acadia’s.
I live in a rural area (shout out to the fine people of Gott’s Cove), so we never seem to have as many items on the ballot as those in incorporated areas. And because so much of campaign season, for me, is dedicated to JDP, I never really have the opportunity to familiarize myself with my home turf (which I make up for by paying property taxes).
However, I learned a few things about my parish while following qualifying:
• So, in JDP, there is the 31st Judicial District Court. And there is one judge. Acadia is in the 15th Judicial District, which includes Vermilion and Lafayette parishes as well, and we have 13 judges (five up for re-election this year…I think, anyway.) And all the judges come from “divisions”. It’s a very Knights-of-the-Round-Table type world in my home district, apparently.
I didn’t realize or understand this fact, so I contacted the 31st Judicial District Attorney’s Office to ask about the 15th District. The answer that I was given is that though Louisiana has 64 parishes, it only has 42 judicial districts, and some include more than one parish.
All I know is I hope I never have to come before any of the 526 honorable judges in the 15th District.
• This doesn’t pertain to the present, but it was only a few years ago that I learned Basile, Estherwood, Mermentau and Morse had police departments, mayors and councils, and I was like, “Since when and where do they keep them?”
• Either some of us in Acadia really, really support JDP candidates or we are unsure in which parish we live. I was traveling north on La. 97 in Acadia earlier this week and spotted a campaign sign for a JDP candidate. I had to do a double-take. So, just to let you guys know in case you don’t know, JDP and Acadia will not be seeing any of the same local candidates on the parishes’ respective ballots. We have some state and congressional seats to fill that will go before all or most of us, but we are not sharing candidates for things like district attorney, district judge, school board, etc. And, no, you cannot vote for a JDP candidate just because you do not like who is on the Acadia ballot. I tried once.
Now, there are also a few things I learned about JDP during qualifying:
• Aaron “Jamie” Hatfield qualified without opposition for Justice of the Peace in Ward 3. Though I do not know him, I congratulate him. Also, if anyone with the last name of McCoy ever challenges Mr. Hatfield for his position, I’m selling t-shirts.
• I think 89 percent of candidates in JDP go by the nickname “Coach”. Somewhere, someone is going to get confused.
It will probably be me, on election night.
• Qualifying is serious business. The first morning, I headed to the parish courthouse around 8:30 a.m. to snap a picture of a candidate signing up. Candidates and their supporters filled the lobby of the courthouse, and eventually a line trailed from a room hidden within the Clerk of Court’s office to outside its doors.
There was even a dog in a campaign t-shirt, which might be the coolest (and cutest) thing I see this campaign season.
Now that the candidates are doing their thing, voters need to do our thing and educate our selves on candidates and issues. You only have until Oct. 6 to register to vote or update your voting information. So if you want to vote – even if you just want to vote against a certain candidate because you dislike them – get to the Registrar of Voters Office.
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