Mar 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Louisiana governor vetoes GOP-led redistricting map, citing Voting Rights Act

Photo of a masked John Bel Edwards sitting at a table and gesturing with his hands

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to the media at Delgado Community College on Feb. 7 in New Orleans. Photo: Josh Brasted via Getty Images for Resilience Force

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the state legislature's congressional redistricting map on Wednesday, saying it fails to add a second majority minority district and "runs afoul of federal law."

Why it matters: Redistricting maps, which are drawn every 10 years, determine seats for elected positions, but have become part of a partisan battle to gain seats.

  • Voting rights advocates have pushed for more majority minority districts as part of an effort to boost voting power for historically underrepresented communities.

Between the lines: With Democrats holding such slim margins in Congress, and Republicans gunning to flip dozens of House seats, every map matters for congressional power not just for next year but for the next decade, Axios' Stef Kight and Andrew Solender write.

What he's saying: "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," the Democratic governor said in a statement.

  • "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 added.
  • "The Legislature should immediately begin the work of drawing a map that ensures Black voices can be properly heard in the voting booth. It can be done and it should be done."

The big picture: Adding a majority minority district in Louisiana would likely "force the ouster of a Republican incumbent in Congress," AP notes.

  • Both chambers of Louisiana's legislature are controlled by Republicans, though the GOP does not have the supermajority needed to override a veto in the state House, according to NBC's New Orleans affiliate.
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