WASHINGTON, D.C. — On March 30, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of Black voters challenging Louisiana’s new congressional map drawn with 2020 census data. The map became law on March 30 after the Louisiana Legislature overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto of the map. Edwards had vetoed the map for failing to include a second majority-Black district out of six total districts, despite the fact that one-third of Louisiana’s population is Black. The plaintiffs agree with Edwards that the map does not fairly represent Black voters in the state, arguing that the new districts dilute the voting strength of Black Louisianans in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit asks the court to block the new map and order the creation of a new map that contains a second majority-Black district.
In their complaint, the plaintiffs outline Louisiana’s history of racial discrimination, a legacy that they argue persists to present day and resulted in this congressional map that does not adequately represent the state’s Black population. The lawsuit highlights that, after the 2020 census, Black residents make up 33.1% of the state’s population, but can only elect their candidate of choice in one congressional district, while white residents make up 57.1% of the state’s population and can elect their candidates of choice in the five remaining districts. The plaintiffs argue that Black voters are “cracked” across numerous districts and “packed” into the one majority-Black district in order to achieve this imbalance, thereby diluting their voting strength. The lawsuit alleges that the state’s Black population along the state’s border with Mississippi and in central Louisiana is large and geographically compact enough to create a second majority-Black district.