BR judge orders recount of bridge toll vote

BATON ROUGE (AP) — An East Baton Rouge Parish judge has ordered a recount of Orleans Parish absentee and early votes in the election for another 20 years of tolls on the Crescent City Connection bridge.

Judge William Morvant’s order Thursday said those votes must be recounted by hand.

The measure passed by a margin of 16 votes out of 308,000 cast on Nov. 6 in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes.

The margin doubled from eight after officials counted 32 military and overseas ballots.

The tolls bring in more than $20 million a year.

Supporters say they’re needed to keep the nation’s fifth busiest bridge in condition to support economic development and reduce traffic and public safety problems.

Opponents call the tolls an unfair burden on residents who have little to show for it.