PORT ALLEN — A group of residents is challenging the candidacy of a mayoral prospect in the Nov. 6 election, claiming he’s not a properly registered voter or resident in the city.
The petitioners are asking that Kirby D. Anderson be removed from the ballot because he was granted homestead exemption for the past several years on a home in East Baton Rouge Parish while being a registered voter in West Baton Rouge Parish, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in 18th Judicial District Court.
The suit also lists West Baton Rouge Clerk of Court Mark Graffeo as a defendant.
Graffeo was out of the office on vacation, a representative from his office said Monday.
Anderson, a 57-year-old Democrat, qualified for the mayoral race on Aug. 15 and used 1120 Michigan Ave. in Port Allen as his address, according to the Secretary of State’s website. The lawsuit asserts a homestead exemption was granted to Anderson on a house located at 784 Flats Way Drive in Baton Rouge.
State law mandates a person be a registered voter in the precinct where their tax-exempted property is located, the suit states.
According to the lawsuit, Anderson used his Port Allen address to vote in last year’s special election.
Anderson said Monday he has been living at the Michigan Avenue address since January 2010.
“It’s my parent’s home,” he said. “I moved back and changed my address so I could take care of my mother.”
Anderson admits to still owning the Baton Rouge residence but said it is currently occupied by renters.
Frederick Everson, the 62-year-old resident leading the petitioners, called Anderson a “nice” guy and said the lawsuit wasn’t a “personal” attack on the mayoral hopeful.
Everson, a candidate in the District 4 race for City Council, said he’s hoping the lawsuit will bring some clarity to the state’s vague qualifying guidelines.
“I started doing a lot of research a couple of years ago and found that the state law is very vague about where a candidate can run,” he said. “Can a person claim homestead exemption in one parish and run for office in another? There has never been a clear answer on this.”
Anderson is facing fellow Democrats Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter and incumbent Roger Bergeron in the mayor’s race.
District Court Judge J. Robin Free has scheduled a hearing for the lawsuit at 10 a.m. Thursday.
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