Caddo Registrar Ernie Roberson has resigned as registrar of voters, effective Mon. July 15.
Roberson has been Registrar of Voters for Caddo Parish since 1990. He is a lifelong resident of Shreveport.
Prior to becoming Registrar, he served as District Manager for the 1980 Census in most of North Louisiana and was a public school teacher in Caddo Parish. He also served on staff for both Congressman Buddy Roemer and Congressman Jim McCrery.
Roberson is Louisiana’s first nationally certified Registrar of Voters. Fewer than one percent of all election administrators in America have obtained national certification.
Roberson is the only Registrar of Voters from the Deep South selected to serve on two national task forces on elections (2001 and 2005) comprised wholly of election administrators from throughout America. The purpose of the task force was to present possible solutions for technical voter issues.
He chaired the Registrar’s committee that recommended the new touch screen voting machines to be used in Louisiana during early voting.
He has also chaired numerous committees for the Registrar of Voters Association, including the committee that recommended to the Legislature the most stringent standards for Louisiana Registrars to become certified election administrators. At the time of its adoption, it was the only such program in the country.
Caddo Parish is the only parish in Louisiana to utilize community groups to aid the Registrar’s office on election day to help voters locate their correct polling place through internet access. The “Where Do I Vote?” program first started in Caddo in 2006.
In 2006 he became the first Louisiana Registrar ever invited to testify before the Election Assistance Commission in Washington, D.C. concerning the effect to community and advocacy groups in voter registration and his proposed plan for emergency procedures for Presidential elections.
The registrar position is not elected. The governing body of each parish selects this individual. Thus Roberson’s replacement will be named by the 12 member Caddo Commission.
The Commission will set the selection timeline in a special meeting on Thurs. July 18. State law sets the requirements for this position.
The requirements for the registrar are either:
a) Bachelor’s degree and two years full-time, professional work experience*.
b) Associate degree and four years full-time, professional work experience*.
c) Seven years of full-time, professional work experience*.
d) Five years full-time employment in a registrar’s office in Louisiana.
* Professional work experience is defined as experience in an occupation which requires specialized and theoretical knowledge usually acquired through college training or through work experience and other training which provides comparable knowledge.
There is no residency required for a candidate until the person has been selected. If not a registered voter in Caddo, the person must become a resident and registered voter of Caddo Parish.
As of July 16, Linda Feazell the Chief Deputy, takes over as interim registrar.
The Commission will have 90 days after the vacancy to appoint a new registrar. The Commission is mandated to “take all reasonable steps to make as many people in the parish as possible aware of the upcoming appointment of a registrar, including without limitation, issuing press releases... and posting notice on its website.”
At a minimum, the commission shall “publish notice of the upcoming appointment together with a request for the submission of applications to fill the office on two separate days are least one week apart in the official journal... and in another newspaper with a larger circulation within the parish that the official journal if there is such a paper.” The ads cannot run in classified section or public notice section and must be at least 2" by 4" and have a bolded box around the ad and use bold face type
The deadline of submitting applications shall be no later than seven (7) calendar days following the last day of publication of notice. The commission shall offer to interview each applicant who meets the qualifications for the registrar’s office.
Roberson is leaving big, big shoes to fill. Many individuals have already contacted commission members advising of their interest in this position.