Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed new boundaries for the state’s congressional districts on March 9. Edwards released a statement that read, in part, “I vetoed the Congressional map proposed by the Louisiana Legislative Assembly because it does not include a second majority African-American District, although black voters make up nearly one-third of Louisianans according to the latest U.S. Census data.This map is simply not fair to Louisiana residents and does not meet the standards set out in federal voting rights law .
The state Senate and state House approved the new U.S. House map on February 18. The congressional redistricting bill passed the state Senate, 27-10, strictly along party lines. The state House of Representatives approved it by a 64-31 vote with 61 Republicans, two independents and one Democrat voting in favor and 27 Democrats, three Republicans and one independent voting against.
According to Blake Paterson of the lawyer“Republicans have passed…maps…that would maintain the status quo of a single black-majority district and nearly guarantee that Louisiana sends five Republicans and one Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives mid- course of the Congress this fall.”
Edwards also announced that he would not sign or veto state legislative maps, allowing them to become law without his signature on March 14. to increase the number of precincts where minority voters can elect the candidates of their choice, I do not believe the Legislature has the ability to draw new maps of the State House and Senate in this upcoming session legislative without the process interrupting the important work of the state of Louisiana. At a time when we face unprecedented challenges, but have unprecedented opportunities to make historic investments in our future, the Legislature should focus on the issues of the next session and not worry about what to what their own constituencies will look like in the 2023 election.”
Edwards is the sixth governor — all in states with split governments — to have vetoed at least one redistricting card this cycle. Lawmakers overturned those vetoes in three states – Kansas, Kentucky and Maryland – and mapping power was transferred to courts in the other two – Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Before the governor vetoed the Congressional map, Paterson wrote on Feb. 23, “If Edwards vetoes the Congressional maps, as his allies have demanded, GOP legislative leaders should attempt to pass outraged. That would likely take place on March 30, during the regular legislative session, according to Yolanda Dixon, secretary of the Senate.