BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Redistricting in Louisiana has been a back-and-forth battle over the future of representing the people in government. The governor vetoed district maps submitted for approval, over the concern of possible federal voting violations. The state legislature voted to override the governor’s veto.
“It’s not about Democrat or Republican. Black or white. It’s about the representation of African-Americans that increased tremendously,” said Rep. Vincent Pierre, (D) District 44 – Lafayette. “We would hope the people of our state understand that, and our colleagues, but it didn’t happen.
Redistricting is a fair and legal attempt to re-draw district lines for the state legislature, congress, and the supreme court, based on new U.S. Census data released every 10 years. The goal is to create balanced population representation, but it’s not an easy process.
The congressional maps are one key focus here. There’s a strong push for a second majority-minority district, due to significant growth in the black population. Republicans want to keep the districts pretty much the same. All of this is wrapped up as a seemingly monumental task, while at the same time trying to avoid any violations of the Voting Rights Act.
“I will tell you that I have done the best job that I can working with the speaker, and working with my committee to come up with a document that I think works for Louisiana,” said Rep. John Stefanski, (R) District 42 of Crowley.
The maps sent to Governor John Bel Edwards for approval were rejected over the concern of possible federal voting violations. “I don’t think there’s another exercise of the legislature that involves more partisanship, more self-interest than in redistricting and that played out, I think, to an unacceptable degree in the congressional map,” said Edwards.
“Now the bill has been vetoed by the legislative branch. It will now move to the court system. The court system will look at the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Hopefully, it will mandate those boundaries. It’s my hope that that happens,” said Pierre.
Civil rights organizations including the NAACP and ACLU are challenging the outcome. Round two will be in court.