By Paulina Buelna
NEW ORLEANS, LA – This past week the American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP Legal Defense, and Educational Fund Inc., (LDF), Cozen O’Connor, Ron Wilson, and John Adcock filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, and several individual Louisiana voters.
Louisiana residents are upset about gerrymandering in their districts after the 2020 census.
They claim this past census was important as it would have provided communities in Louisiana with better allocation of resources, political power, and representation, but the state legislature didn’t follow the census data correctly in the districts.
Instead of an accurate portrayal of Louisiana demographics, the opposite occurred and many Black voters are getting their voting rights taken away, the federal pleading said.
According to ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Alanah Odoms, “The Louisiana Legislature had the opportunity to ensure our district maps were constitutional, but instead, (it) continued on the path that has led to decades of diluting Black voting power.”
Assumption Parish resident Dr. Dorothy Nairne said, “To comply with the Voting Rights Act, the maps must increase majority-Black districts. Lawmakers must follow the census data and are well aware of this, but instead, they chose to ignore repeated concerns from national and local civil rights leaders. We must reconcile this now.”
Residents and activists said they are willing to fight for this long battle in court in order for residents to gain their political voice. Many communities in Louisiana continue to grow their numbers of Black citizens not reflected in new districting maps, the lawsuit claims.
In the last decade, communities of color in Louisiana have grown, now making up 42 percent of the voting-age population. Still, just 26 percent (37 of 144) of current legislators are people of color.
The case, Nairne v. Ardoin, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.