Get Involved!

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A practical guide to participating in your parish government


Introduction
'As citizens, we all have an obligation to intervene and become involved. It's the citizen who CHANGES things.' – Jose Saramago

President Abraham Lincoln in his ‘Gettysburg Address’ referred to the U.S. government as being “of the people, by the people, for the people.” That statement holds true for your local St. Charles Parish government.

Nine council members represent the people of the parish under the legislative branch, with the parish president handling day-to-day operations under the executive branch.

It’s also true that the media don’t cover all newsworthy-to-you events within government. It’s up to you to become informed and engaged in the parish government process, and this brochure offers all the information you’ll need to do just that.

From registering to vote to downloading parish council agendas, all the tools are literally at your fingertips!

Vote

  • Qualifications: Must be 17 years of age to register to vote, as well as a U.S. citizen. Must NOT?be under an order of imprisonment for conviction of a felony, and must NOT be under a judgment of full or limited interdiction in which your right to vote has been suspended. Must reside in the parish in which you seek to register and vote. The voting age is 18.

  • Where to Register: Complete an application at the Registrar of Voters Office, located within the St. Charles Parish Courthouse, 15045 River Road in Hahnville, by mail or online at www.geauxvote.com. Designated sites may offer voter registration, such as the Office of Motor Vehicles, Louisiana Department of Social Services and others.

  • Needed Documents:Those registering in person are required to prove age, residency and identity via a current Louisiana drivers’ license, birth certificate or other documentation which sufficiently establishes this information.

  • When to Register: Register 30 days prior to an election to be eligible to vote.

  • More Information: Visit www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/registrar or call (985) 783-5120. The St. Charles Parish Registrar of Voters Office mailing address is P.O. Box 315, Hahnville, LA 70057.

Talk

A list of all local elected officials and their contact information to send letters, e-mails and faxes is available on the St. Charles Parish website downloading the Public Information Bulletin. This publication, which lists contact information for both elected officials and parish departments, is sent annually to all mailboxes in the parish. Additional copies may be picked up St. Charles Parish Library branches or the lobby of the courthouse in Hahnville.


Attend

Attending public meetings is an effective way to stay informed about government happenings. Citizens can learn about scheduled meetings by:

State law requires all public meetings be advertised at least 24 hours in advance. Many of the meetings are aired live on SCP-TV. All Parish Council, Council Committees and Planning Commission meetings are posted for viewing on the parish website. Council meeting agendas are available for viewing both online and at the West and East Regional Library branches. Other agendas can be obtained using contact information for the individual boards and commissions.

Connect
It’s easy to stay up-to-date with local news via social media and the parish’s website. Find previews of council meetings, videos about upcoming and ongoing infrastructure projects, results of council meetings, press releases and more at the following sites:

In addition, the St. Charles Parish Public Information Office and other parish departments provide regular updates to local media outlets, including newspapers, radio stations and television stations.


Speak Out
Citizens and groups can address the parish council on any topic by filling out a petition to address the council, which can be found under ‘Right to Direct Participation’ at www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/council or picked up from the Parish Council Office in the St. Charles Parish Courthouse.

The written request must be received by the council secretary at least one week prior to the meeting, or earlier during the holiday season. (Please check with the council staff.) Speakers are granted five minutes, which can be extended to eight minutes upon approval of two-thirds of council members. While the Home Rule Charter guarantees citizens the right to address the council, there is no provision for initiating debates, discussions or question and answer sessions with council members or administrators.

Get Records
Anyone 18 or older has the right to examine or obtain a copy of a public record (unless exempted) of any public body, including state and parish agencies or boards. Requests must be submitted in writing.

Generally anything having been used, in use or prepared for use in the conduct of public business is a public record. Public records include drafts of documents, statistics, maps, letters, memos, budgets, electronic data, payrolls and assessment rolls. Processing time and a nominal administrative or copying fee may apply. For a sample of a public records request letter, or for more information, visit www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/pio and click on ‘Parish FAQs.’


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