- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The petition to incorporate the City of St. George has come up short by 71 signatures.

Multiple media outlets report the Registrar of Voters Office announced Saturday that the St. George incorporation petition did not meet the requirement of signatures from 25 percent of voters in the proposed boundaries of the city.

According to the Registrar’s Office, St. George organizers needed 17,859 valid signatures on the petition, but only got 17,788 approved signatures.

“We still believe we have enough signatures, and every option is on the table right now,” said Lionel Rainey, St. George spokesman. “For anyone to say this is over, that’s just inaccurate. This is something we’ve been prepared for, and we’ll continue to fight to make sure people’s voices are heard.”

In a Facebook post, the St. George leaders said there were “clear errors throughout the process” and that they are “reviewing the verification and tabulation process as well as preparing a legal challenge.”

But opponents of the St. George effort were already celebrating.

“I’m very happy that Baton Rouge is not going to be divided and this divisive effort that’s gone on for 21 months or so is now over,” said Mary Olive Pierson, the attorney representing the city-parish in its efforts against St. George. “We can now get back to turning our attention and energy to improving schools and keeping Baton Rouge together and being a united community.”

Representatives of the St. George effort will now need to wait two years before proposing the idea again.

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