NEW ORLEANS – ACLU of Louisiana, the ACLU National Voting Rights Project, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and 13 other civil and human rights organizations today submitted a new letter urging the Louisiana Legislature to draw State House and Senate maps that provide significant increases in majority-Black opportunity districts, as required by Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. As with the congressional advocacy letter presented by the same coalition last October, this letter outlines the legislature’s obligation to ensure that voters of color have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in state legislative districts and explains why significant increases in majority-Black districts are likely required by Section 2.
The below statement regarding today’s letter should be attributed to ACLU of Louisiana Advocacy Director Chris Kaiser.
“The State Legislature makes policy decisions that affect every aspect of life in Louisiana, including access to education, economic opportunity, housing, health care, and criminal justice. So, it is imperative that all Louisianans have a fair shot at electing representatives who will fight for their concerns. Right now, people of color in Louisiana make up 42% of Louisiana’s population, yet only about 25% of our current legislators are people of color. This harsh underrepresentation is depriving thousands of Louisianans, particularly in our Black communities, of political power.
“The House and Senate maps that we’ve submitted today make clear that the legislature has the ability to draw additional majority-Black opportunity districts and comply with the Voting Rights Act while following traditional redistricting principles. We illustrated two possible plans, which provide nine additional majority-Black opportunity House districts and four additional majority-Black opportunity Senate districts. And these are just two options—there are countless other district configurations that could fulfill the legislature’s duties under Section 2. But these maps serve as an illustration that fair representation is within the legislature’s ability.
“During the legislature’s road show, voters across the state made a massive outcry for district plans that fairly represent people of color. The maps we have submitted show that underrepresentation is not necessary or natural in Louisiana. Allowing this vote dilution to continue would be a choice by the legislature—a choice that very likely violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”