LA governor describes district maps as ‘problematic,’ but doesn’t commit to veto 

John Bel Edwards did not tell the media Monday if he will veto the bills, saying, "The simple answer: I haven’t made a decision."

John Bel Edwards, the governor of Louisiana, has acknowledged that several Republican-backed proposals to redraw the state’s congressional map are “very problematic.” 

The Louisiana GOP has proposed new maps without creating an additional majority-Black district in the Bayou State. At a press conference on Monday, the Democratic governor did not tell the media if he will veto the bills, saying, “The simple answer: I haven’t made a decision,” according to The Advocate

Louisiana Gov. Jon Bel Edwards has acknowledged that several GOP-backed proposals to redraw the state’s congressional map are “very problematic.” (Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Pool/Getty Images)

The bills, which passed both the Louisiana House of Representatives and State Senate, will rework the boundaries of all six of the state’s six congressional districts, ensuring only one representative of a majority-Black district in Congress. 

Edwards said that given the state is one-third Black, Louisiana’s African American voters should have the opportunity to choose two of its six representatives. “We can all do math,” he said Monday. “One-third of six is two. Can two be drawn? Yes. In any number of ways.”

In addition to Edwards’ objection, The Advocate notes that a coalition of civil rights groups has called the Republican-led bills a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act for diluting minority voting power. 

The proposals would cram Black voting power into the Second District, which would stretch from New Orleans East to north Baton Rouge. State Democrats have proposed bills that would include a second congressional district that could also include majority Black voters, but none of those bills have made it out of committee. 

Edwards also said one thing to consider as it relates to a veto is if he will be overridden by the state legislature, which is highly probable, given Louisiana’s Republican-led House and Senate. In Kentucky and Kansas, Democratic governors Andy Beshear and Laura Kelly have had their respective vetoes overturned as related to the issue. 

Edwards maintains that a more equitable map will come to his desk in the coming months. 

According to The Washington Post, new congressional maps in 28 states have added more majority-white districts, despite their shrinking population of whites. 

“Most folks have already evaluated the partisan implications of the maps passed to date as not being overly bad for the Democrats, or at least not compared to expectations,” Adam Podowitz-Thomas, senior legal strategist at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, told The Post

“However, the bigger story that we are noting is the aggressive approach to the redistricting of racial minorities, where populations that historically resided in districts that provided an opportunity to elect candidates of their choice are losing their say,” said Podowitz-Thomas, “and that despite driving a disproportionate amount of population growth in many states, minority populations are not seeing their representational opportunities increase in tandem.”

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