REDISTRICTING UPDATE

Dear Redistricting Stakeholder,

The U.S. Department of Justice has pre-cleared state legislative Redistricting maps submitted by the Louisiana Legislature for the Louisiana State Senate. As you all know a coalition of neighborhood associations, non-profits, and officials over three parishes consisting of over 2,000 residents have been fighting to maintain their “Community of Interest” and attempting to protect the right to fair representation guaranteed by the Voting Rights Act.

Moving Forward Gulf Coast, ENONAC, the Northshore Citizens Alliance, VOTE, neighborhood and civic organizations, social justice advocates, advocates for fair representation in our nation’s democratic system of governance and concerned citizens are all extremely disappointed that the U.S. Department of Justice has given its stamp of approval to redistricting plans for the State House of Representatives and State Senate that clearly violate both the standards and intent of the Voting Rights Act by unnecessarily weakening the ability of racial minorities to elect candidates of their choice and to preserve their communities of interest.

SB 33 “The People’s Plan”, preserved 4 out 5 majority-minority districts in the metro area, while Chassions’ “octopus” map retrogressed from 5 to 3. We graded two out of three better in compact and contiguity testes, while dividing fewer subdivisions. The People came together and contributed to its development and went on record to offer this alternative plan, but were completely ignored by the Senate committee.

Community residents, clergy and lay leaders, and elected officials who previously expressed their concern about the plans to the Justice Department will now be looking closely at all legal options, including the possibility of a court challenge to the plans, to help ensure that the redistricting process is not abused to divide and conquer communities of color and undermine fair representation. We are puzzled that the Justice Department has chosen to ignore a viable alternative to the map the Louisiana Senate adopted, one that would have maintained four out of five majority minority Senate districts in theNew Orleans metropolitan area and preserved fair representation for communities across the city, and the citizens of eastern New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward in particular.

Please continue to stand with us as we move forward in the pursuit of justice for all.

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