Today, LDF and coalition partners sent a letter to Louisiana state House and Senate Governmental Affairs Committees urging the legislature to adopt a redistricting map for the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in compliance with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Over one dozen civil rights, voting rights, and education advocacy organizations signed onto the letter. As explained in the letter, Section 2 likely requires the legislature to enact a map with three majority-minority districts. The coalition provided two maps that demonstrate that a map with three majority-minority districts can be drawn. Coalition partners include: Advancement Project National Office, American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, Black Voters Matter Fund, Fair Districts Louisiana, The Education Trust, League of Women Voters of Louisiana, Louisiana NAACP State Conference, Louisiana Progress, Our Voice Nuestra Voz, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, Southern Louisiana Coalition for Education, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, Urban League 2 of Louisiana, and former BESE member Linda Johnson.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is the administrative body for elementary and secondary schools, special schools for students with disabilities, and educational units in the state’s correctional institutions and mental health facilities. The eleven-member board consists of three members appointed at large, and eight members elected from single-member districts. Nearly half of Louisiana residents under the age of 18 and eligible to attend public schools in the state or will be in coming years are Black or Latino, but Black and Latino Louisianans are severely underrepresented on the BESE. Current maps deny voters of color in Northern Louisiana a meaningful opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.
As explained in the letter, A BESE map with only two majority-minority districts likely violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Maps submitted by LDF and coalition partners show that it is possible to draw a BESE map with three majority-minority districts. LDF and coalition partners urge the Legislature to its consider its obligations under the Voting Rights Act and adopt a BESE map with three majority-minority districts to ensure Black and Latino voters’ right to an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.
Read the full letter and view the maps here.
LDF has been closely monitoring the redistricting processes in Louisiana and other key states to prevent discriminatory redistricting plans and ensure that legislatures comply with their obligations under the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. Read more about LDF’s redistricting work 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. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.