A Louisiana congressman says the state election maps have a simple math problem

Rep. Troy Thompson, D-Louisiana, says the state is about 33 percent black, so two of the six state Congressional districts should be majority black.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 9:18 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Louisiana GOP state lawmakers want more time to draft new election maps and a federal judge is forcing them into court this week to explain why they need it.

Louisiana lawmakers are being ordered by a federal judge to draw up an election map that better represents black voters by Monday, June 20, but they might not make the deadline. U.S. Democratic Congressman Troy Carter says a new map is long overdue and they have a math problem.

One out of three people in the state are black, but an election map passed by state lawmakers in February 2022, contains only one majority-black district out of six.

“Basic math. The population shift suggests that there should be a second majority-minority district where African Americans would have the opportunity to vote for a person of their choosing,” said U.S. Congressman Carter.

A federal judge reviewed the maps and ruled there needs to be a second majority-black district to comply with the voting rights act. Republicans who drew the maps are appealing that change.

The 5th U.S. Court of Appeals will hear the case on July 8. The court says while both sides await a ruling, lawmakers need to work on formatting a new map because the court believes the GOP lawmakers have a weaker case.

“They’ve been told, you cannot wait,” said Nora Ahmed, Legal Director for the ACLU of Louisiana. “The law, right now, is the district court’s ruling. That ruling says that the map that you had passed is non-compliant with the voting rights act.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry Tweeted earlier this month “We believe she erred in her decision and have filed a notice of appeal.”

The deadline for state lawmakers to draft the maps is currently Monday, June 20.

State Senate President Patrick Cortez and state House Speaker Clay Schexnayder now must explain to a judge why they want more time to draft the new maps. We reached out to both leaders, but neither commented for this story.

Louisiana lawmakers began their special legislative session to work on a new map Wednesday.

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