WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a group of voters and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against Louisiana’s new congressional map. The map became law today after the Louisiana Legislature overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto. The plaintiffs argue that, by failing to include a second majority-Black district, this new congressional map dilutes the voting strength of Black residents in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Because of this, the plaintiffs ask the court to block the map and order the creation of a new map that creates a second majority-Black district.
The complaint points out that, even though Black residents make up one-third of Louisiana’s population, they can only elect their candidate of choice in one out of the six congressional districts. Highlighting the state’s long history of racial discrimination, the plaintiffs argue the new congressional map “continues the State of Louisiana’s long history of maximizing political power for white citizens by disenfranchising and discriminating against Black Louisianans.” In support of this argument, the complaint points to the fact that Black candidates are “chronically underrepresented” in state and federal offices due to ongoing racial discrimination and because white voters consistently vote for different candidates than those preferred by Black voters. The plaintiffs allege that Black voters are “packed” into one majority-Black district and “cracked” among the five other districts in order to dilute their voting power in violation of the VRA and the appropriate remedy is a map with two majority-Black districts.