Schedler wants fewer elections Schedler wants fewer elections BY MICHELLE MILLHOLLON| Capitol news bureau June 21, 2013 Comments "This state needs to understand we no longer have the money we had," he said during a meeting of the state Bond Commission.Schedler said Louisiana ranks No. 1 in the number of elections.The commission put 29 items on ballots that will be considered by voters in different pockets of the state on Oct. 19. The items include: n Renewal of a 6.90-mill property tax for East Baton Rouge Parish law enforcement expenses. n Charging South Burbank property owners in Baton Rouge $100 a year for crime prevention costs. n A 7-mill property tax in Jefferson Parish to fund the public school system. n A 10-mill tax in Livingston Parish to pay for fire protection and emergency medical expenses.Elections cost $1,250 per precinct. A big election can run millions of dollars. A study concluded Louisiana held 70 elections between 2005 and 2010, putting the state at the top of the list in the number of elections conducted, according to Meg Casper, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State's Office.She said 32 of the 70 elections were to fill unexpired legislative terms. Schedler's said his beef is when local officials forget to put a property tax renewal on the election ballot and request an emergency, or special, election. As secretary of state, Schedler oversees elections and helps pay the bills to hold them. Legislation filed by state Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, in 2011 helped curb legislative elections. Fannin's bill required the elections to be held on regularly scheduled election dates unless a large amount of time was left in the term.Other attempts to rein in elections fell flat. State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, said he backed legislation several years ago to determine what should qualify for an emergency election. He said the bill failed. "We will be looking at it in the future," Riser said.Schedler complained officials are never told "No" on an election request. The only exception he can remember, he said, is when St. Tammany Parish requested an election on the Saturday before Christmas."Those are eating us alive," he said.State government has been grappling with budget problems for several years. Schedler said one likely reason for low voter turnout is voters are overwhelmed by the number of elections. He said they no longer can discern which ones are important. "The public is up to their ears with it," he said.