Governor Edwards Vetoes Congressional Maps; Says Louisiana Needs 2nd Black Congressional District

On Wednesday, Governor John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed the reconfigured Congressional maps passed by both chambers of the Louisiana legislature late last month, citing the lack of Black representation in the newly drawn maps as his chief motivation for rejecting the proposed federal map for Louisiana’s congressional representation for the next decade. The legislative-approved congressional map included only one Black majority district – maintaining largely the existing political configuration for Louisiana.

“Today, after careful consideration, review, discussion with legislators, and consultation with voting rights experts, I have vetoed the proposed congressional map drawn by Louisiana’s Legislature because it does not include a second majority African American district, despite Black voters making up almost a third of Louisianans per the latest U.S. Census data,” said Edwards in a statement released Wednesday night. “This map is simply not fair to the people of Louisiana and does not meet the standards set forth in the federal Voting Rights Act.”

He further called for state lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to make sure “Black voices an be properly heard in the voting booth.”

In addition, the Governor indicated that he had approved the maps for the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Public Service Commission (PSC), stating he felt those maps were more fairly representative of Louisiana’s population.

While the Governor’s population claims are supported by U.S. Census data, should Louisiana add a second Congressional district that would be made up of a majority of Black voters, the presumption is that Louisiana’s Congressional delegation would lose a Republican in favor of a new, additional Democratic Representative.

It’s unclear what the next steps are for legislative redistricting, but while Republicans have the supermajority needed to override the Governor’s veto in the House, they fall just short of one in the Senate. Unless Republicans can secure Democratic votes, they are almost certainly now forced to vote on new congressional maps.

You can read the Governor’s full statement here.

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