The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the American Civil Liberties Union, (ACLU), and a coalition of civil rights groups sent a letter urging Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to veto state legislative maps, H.B. 14 and S.B. 1, that violate the Voting Rights Act by failing to add a second majority-Black district where Black voters have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The groups also sent a letter urging Governor Edwards to veto discriminatory Congressional redistricting maps.
Members of the State Legislature make decisions and policies that impact every aspect of life in Louisiana, including access to education, economic opportunity, housing, health care, and criminal justice. Under redistricting plans proposed by HB14 and SB1, Louisiana’s Black voters are severely underrepresented. Adding new majority-minority Black opportunity districts would provide Black voters with representation to address the state’s pervasive and ongoing record of inequality of opportunity in various aspects of life.
Currently, just 37 out of the 144 (25.69%) members of the Louisiana Legislature are Black even though Black residents comprise 33.1% of the state’s population. This is a direct consequence of the state’s legislative maps and redistricting policies. HB14 and SB1 would further entrench and exacerbate the dilution of Black voting strength in Louisiana over the next ten years. In addition, the state legislative maps do not accurately reflect Louisiana’s population growth over the past 10 years. The state’s population growth was driven by growth in minority populations.
The Louisiana Legislature has an affirmative obligation to comply with the Voting Rights Act in the redistricting process. In particular, Section 2 requires the redistricting body to ensure that voters of color have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect candidates of their choice. One of Section 2’s primary purposes is to prohibit minority vote dilution at
all levels of government. The maps passed by the legislature clearly violate Section 2.
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.