State Senator Cleo Fields (D-Baton Rouge) says officials with the U.S. Justice Department lied, or at the very best, misled U.S. Congressman

State Senator Cleo Fields (D-Baton Rouge) says officials with the U.S. Justice Department lied, or at the very best, misled U.S. Congressman John Conyers when they told him one reason a decision was made to pre-clear the emergency election plans for New Orleans was "minority members of the Louisiana House and Senate were unanimous in casting their votes for the election procedures." Justice department officials made the assertion in a letter to Cong. Conyers yesterday.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Sen. Fields, who has repeatedly opposed the emergency election plan developed by the Secretary of State’s office, said. "I, along with others, openly and vocally opposed the plan because of the changes in precincts in the proposal. The vote in both the Senate and the House was far from unanimous on the issue and the certified ballot results show that."

Sen. Fields and Cong. Conyers, who is the ranking minority member of the Committee on the Judiciary in the U.S. House of Representatives, met with justice department officials voicing concern about the New Orleans emergency election plans. At that meeting, Cong. Conyers asked that the department detail its rational for pre-clearing the election plan if that decision was made.

"It is clear to me that justice department officials didn’t know any better or didn’t care about the facts when they asserted to Congress that minority members of the Louisiana State Legislature were unanimous in their support of the emergency election plans for New Orleans," Sen. Fields said. "While members of the caucus did support moves to open up access to voting via absentee ballots and satellite polling locations, I, along with others, did not support the over-all emergency election plan submitted to the justice department for review."

A copy of the certified vote on the New Orleans emergency election plan, detailing Sen. Fields’ votes on the issue as well as the U.S. Justice Department letter to Cong. Conyers and Sen. Fields reply to Cong. Conyers are available on Sen. Fields Web page at http://senate.legis.state.la.us/FieldsC/ .

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