WHAT IS REDISTRICTING?

The U.S. Constitution requires each Representative in Congress represent an equal number of citizens and mandates a census to determine the number of citizens and then apportion seats to each state based on that census. Every 10 years we count every person in the U.S., and then states redraw their state and congressional district lines based on that count. These districts determine how communities are represented at the local, state, and federal levels.

Redistricting is how we make sure our voices are represented equally by creating districts that have nearly the same number of people in it.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Populations change, people move, demographics change, and our politicial representation has to match that. Representation at all levels of goverment require that political districts be updated to account for population changes. And just like voting, redistricting matters becuase it determines who will be making important decisions that impact our quality of life every day. Redistricting will determine political representation for the next 10 years. During this process, the lines and boundaries of governing bodies are redrawn so that each district is roughly equal in population size based on the most recent Census data.

Through the process of redisctricing, maps become a critical tool that largely determines our ability to vote for people who represent our community and our interests. When maps are nor drawn fairly or appropriately, it can result in manipulation of electoral boundaries that give an unfair political advantage to a particular political party or group—a practice known as gerrymandering.

HOW CAN I TAKE ACTION?

  • Participate in the “redistricting roadshow: From October through January, the Louisiana state legislature will hold a series of public hearings across the state, known as the “redistricting roadshow.” Members of the Senate and House Governmental Affairs Committees will travel to different cities to make presentations on the map-drawing processes and hear public testimony about the state-level and federal districts.
  • Provide Written Testimony: You can submit written statements, letters, or maps to the House and Senate Governmental Affairs Committees. Statements emailed to h&ga@legis.la.gov and received 24 hours in advance will be distributed to the committee members prior to the meeting.
  • Provide a Public Statement: You can make a public statement in-person at the roadshow, which also becomes part of the public record.

EVENTS

Redistricting Roadshow Schedule

The legislature seeks active and informed public participation in all of its redistricting activities. The legislature intends to provide for the widest range of public information about its deliberations and full opportunity for citizens to make suggestions and recommendations to the legislature, all in accordance with the rules and policies of each house of the legislature and the provisions of law relative to open meetings and public records.

In order to provide maximum public outreach, all regional meetings will be streamed live via the Legislative Redistricting site, Facebook, and YouTube.  For direct links to the meetings, CLICK HERE.

DATE

TIME

AREA/CITY

VENUE

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

5:30pm –8:30pm

Northeast La./Monroe

University of Louisiana Monroe

Thursday, October 21, 2021

5:30pm –8:30pm

Northwest La./Shreveport

Louisiana State University Shreveport

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

5:30pm –8:30pm

Acadiana/Lafayette

University of Louisiana Lafayette

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

5:30pm –8:30pm

CenLa/Alexandria

Louisiana State University Alexandria

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

5:30pm – 8:30pm

Capital Area/Baton Rouge

Southern University

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

5:30pm – 8:30pm

Northshore/Covington

Fuhrmann Auditorium

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

5:30pm – 8:30pm

Southwest La./Lake Charles

TBD

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

5:30pm – 8:30pm

Orleans Metro/New Orleans

University of New Orleans

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

5:30pm –8:30pm

Bayou Region/Thibodaux

Nicholls State University

Thursday, January 20, 2022

11:00am

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge State Capitol

Early2022 (TBD) Extraordinary Session for Redistricting

TBD

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge State Capitol

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who is involved?

  • The State Legislature is responsible for redrawing maps for:
    • U.S. Congress
    • State House and Senate
    • State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
    • Courts
    • Public Service Commission
  • Local government authorities are responsible for redrawing maps for:
    • Town council
    • City council
    • Parish council
    • Police jury
    • Local school boards
  • YOU!: The public can participate in the redistricting process by:
    • Participating in the state legislature’s “redistricting roadshow”
    • Asking questions
    • Contacting your legislators.

What should I include in my testimony?

Share what you think is important for them to consider about your community when making the maps. What communities do you think should be included in the same district and electing officials together? Who lives in your community? Has your community come together to advocate for important services? How is your community different or alike from the communities around you? Have you worked for more recognition or support of your community?

What factors are considered when drawing districts?

Aside from population equality, jurisdictions are required to comply with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution prohibiting discrimination. Jurisdictions also apply “traditional redistricting principles” which include: compactness (related to district shape), contiguity (all parts of a district touching or connected), preservation of county and municipal lines, maintaining communities of interest (specific groups with shared interests/identity), maintaining cores of existing districts, and incumbency protection or
competitiveness.

What are some of the techniques used in redistricting plans to dilute minority voting strength?

Three techniques frequently used to dilute minority voting strength are “cracking,” “stacking,” and “packing.”

“Cracking” refers to fragmenting concentrations of minority population and dispersing them among other districts to ensure that all districts are majority white.

“Stacking” refers to combining concentrations of minority population with greater concentrations of white population, again to ensure that districts are majority white.

“Packing” refers to concentrating as many minorities as possible in as few districts as possible to minimize the number of majority-minority districts. All of these techniques may result in a districting plan that violates the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment.

Other techniques have also been used to affect a group’s voting strength: questionable purging of registration rolls; moving polling places; administering difficult registration procedures; annexing areas; decreasing the number of voting machines in minority areas; and threatening reprisals for voting.