Redistricting leaves candidates in the dark

Published 8:46 am Monday, October 6, 2014

Since the last round of elections in Bogalusa, redistricting took place in accordance with results of the 2010 Census. Unfortunately, redistricting has left some political candidates in limbo regarding knowing what district they are to represent.

Emma Dixon and Justin Arnold fall in that category.

While Dixon had plenty to say about her situation, Arnold declined comment until later when asked about his plans.

Dixon said she is just absolutely perplexed over all the redistricting.

Dixon and Arnold recently qualified to run in the Bogalusa City Council race for District B. She was recently informed in a letter from Washington Parish Registrar of Voters Randy Strickland that she actually lives in District C, as does Arnold. Both Dixon and Arnold live on St. Mary’s Place in Bogalusa.

“On Sept. 30, I was in District B. On Oct. 2, I’m told I’m in District C,” Dixon said. “I try and do positive things in the community. This thing has me so upset. Apparently I have done everything I was supposed to do. I am still running for office. Somebody just dropped the ball. If I was listed on the Secretary of State’s website on Sept. 30 in District B, how did I get to District C on Oct. 2?”

Strickland confirmed his correspondence with Dixon.

“On Sept. 30, she had qualified for District B,” Strickland said. “All the stuff wasn’t entered into the computer properly. If she runs and wins, she would have to move over to District C. I sent her a letter explaining the options.”

Dixon’s District B opposition in the Nov. 4 election includes the Rev. Keith Merrill, Tamira Moss-Smith and Justin Arnold.

“There is a seven-day challenge once they’re registered to protest anything,” Strickland said. “After that, a person can legally run and for whatever position they qualify for.”

Dixon said she is contemplating her options.

“I think we’re going to have some legal ramifications here,” Dixon said. “I don’t know if it’s personal. I find myself between a rock and a hard place because I don’t know what’s going on.”

Dixon said she has been hurt in the process.

“This is causing me embarrassment. It looks like I qualified for the wrong district,” Dixon said. “This is not a criticism of Randy Strickland or anybody, I’m just trying and get to the bottom of what is going on. I’m just trying to get my situation straight. I’m not trying to point a finger at anybody, but I think the final analysis will show there’s a problem somewhere. I go to Rotary and hear that I have been disqualified.”

Despite all the hoopla, Dixon said she would continue to talk up Bogalusa.

“I’m just trying to make my community better,” Dixon said. “I moved here in June 2009. I want to continue to be a friend and ally in this community. I don’t plan on moving anywhere. There’s no place like home.”