by Marion Marks
I have a friend who always tries to settle daily accounts with $2 bills, and some merchants laugh at his idiosyncrasy while marking him up as just an “odd duck.” This friend’s pattern certainly goes against public sentiment regarding legal tender, but it breaks no law and often gives those at the cash register a smile or a chuckle. Additionally, we can laugh today and carry on none the worse for knowing him.
However, Caddo Parish administrator, Dr. Woodrow Wilson, even as he has effectively guided Caddo through many potential disasters, faces questions regarding his legal residence and the laws of legally casting a ballot, that are not so lightly written off as just personal eccentricities.
Wilson has admitted he is in violation of state voter law. And, in admitting that he takes a homestead exemption with his Bossier Parish home, he either ignores or lies to citizens and the state regarding his legal requirement to vote in Bossier. Many Republicans exert great political pressure to guarantee that voters have proper identification when casting a ballot and that the letter of the law must be upheld.
If Wilson’s apartment in Caddo Parish, he claimed as his residence, is accepted by the Parish Commission and the Registrar of Voters then he is illegally claiming his homestead exemption. If the apartment is no more than a smoke screen to skirt the Parish requirement for employees, Wilson must address that issue or commissioners must rewrite the requirements for Wilson. These ordinances set forth by Caddo are the same requirements enforced to get other employees to establish their residences in the parish. Or, perhaps Wilson is just thumbing his nose at Louisiana election laws.
From the Louisiana Secretary of State Registration Facts,
“The registrar of voters must know where you live so you are assigned to the proper voting precinct for Election Day. If you have multiple residences and claim a homestead exemption, you must register to vote using your homestead exemption address… However, there is an exception in the law for a person who resides in a nursing home or in a veterans’ home. They may register and vote at the address where the nursing home or veterans’ home is located, even though they have a homestead exemption on their residence.”
Wilson can’t have it both ways. Either he resides in Caddo, since he votes in Caddo, or he is illegally taking his homestead exemption in Bossier. The case that Wilson has violated the intent of the commission’s ordinance, or he is in violation of the state law seems to open a whole new can of worms. There is NO combination of Wilson’s claims of his residence, his homestead exemption and his voter registration where he has not violated some state or parish law.
Perhaps the commission will jump up and down to demand Wilson resign on this legal “misstep.” And, if the 2014 commission felt so strongly that they gave Wilson 18 months to move back into the parish, certainly these new questions deserve scrutiny and real answers about the Caddo apartment that none of Wilson’s alleged neighbor’s claim to have seen Wilson as an overnight resident. Now that this voter registration violation is now in the public realm, will Wilson change his registration to Bossier Parish, or will he no longer claim his homestead exemption? Or will the legislature write a special exclusion to allow Wilson to live and vote at a precinct where he claims a homestead exemption in another parish?
I think I will go to the bank and request a bundle of $2 bills just to see what the reaction is to passing legal funny money. If Caddo citizens, the mainstream media and governmental agencies don’t see the iron in the issues raised about Woody Wilson, I think all cash registers should add a new slot to make room for lots of $2 bills. I hope others will find this form of protest more than just humorous.