Today, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Louisiana, and 20 other civil rights organizations sent a letter to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards urging him to veto the congressional map recently passed by the state legislature (HB 1 and SB 5). The map violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by failing to provide Black voters in Louisiana an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of their choice. The maps fail to add a second majority-Black district.
Louisiana’s voting-age population is nearly one-third Black. Under the current map, Black Louisianans are severely under-represented and comprise the majority in just one of the state’s six congressional districts. This means that Black voters in Louisiana only have an opportunity to elect candidates of their choice in one of the six congressional districts (i.e., 16.7% of the districts). Meanwhile, Louisiana’s white population is dramatically overrepresented: only 58% of Louisiana’s population is non-Hispanic white, but the candidates they prefer would generally prevail in five out of six (83.3%) districts under the maps. Although the only majority-Black district, has elected Black candidates in all but one congressional contest over the past 30 years, none of the majority-white districts have ever elected a Black Congressperson. This is a direct consequence of the configuration of Louisiana’s congressional districts.
Simply put, Black voters in Louisiana are afforded less opportunity to elect candidates of their choice than white voters under the maps passed by the legislature. The bills perpetuate the long-standing dilution of Black voting strength in Louisiana. Louisiana has an affirmative obligation to comply with the Voting Rights Act in the redistricting process, and the maps passed by the legislature violate Section 2 of the VRA by failing to add a second majority-Black district. For these reasons, LDF and coalition partners strongly urge Governor Edwards to veto the maps.
The list of signed organizations includes: NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”), the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Louisiana, the ACLU Voting Rights Project, Louisiana Justice Institute, Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, Anti-Defamation League, Louisiana Progress, Black Voters Matter Fund, Fair Districts Louisiana, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, League of Women Voters of Louisiana, National Council of Jewish Women – Greater New Orleans Section, Campaign Legal Center, Louisiana Budget Project, Urban League of Louisiana, Voters Organized to Educate, Voice of the Experienced, MetroMorphosis, the Education Trust Group, the Jeremiah Group, and New Orleans Maternal and Child Health Coalition.
Read the full letter here.
LDF and coalition partners have been deeply involved in the redistricting process in Louisiana and other key states to prevent discriminatory redistricting plans and ensure legislatures comply with their obligations under the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. LDF and the coalition have submitted several maps, testified before the legislature, and sent several letters to legislators throughout the process. Learn more about LDF’s redistricting work in Louisiana and other states here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.