The Legislature’s Joint Governmental Affairs Committee met Friday for the first of many redistricting sessions to draw new maps that determine which voters to include in their districts in addition to other statewide political boundaries—a project that will impact Louisiana elections for the next decade.
Patricia Lowrey-Dufour, the committee’s senior research analyst, told lawmakers they should expect significant changes to their districts.
“As you can see from this map, the chances of any district remaining untouched by redistricting are probably zero, so just be aware,” she said. “I want you to be aware that redistricting is all about change, and as you can see if you look to your left and your right for your neighboring districts, you can see that there will have to be substantial changes made.”
Lowrey-Dufour was referring to maps she presented showing population disparities among the state House districts. The recent 2020 census found significant population shifts across the state with many rural areas losing residents to urban and suburban districts.
One of the primary rules for redistricting is that districts should have largely equal populations with a deviation of no more than 5% for state districts except those for the state Supreme Court. Legislation that would have required equal populations and expanded the number of state Supreme Court districts to offer more minority representation failed to pass last session. The rules are also slightly different for congressional districts, which have to be as even as possible but don’t follow a strict percentage rule like that which applies to the state districts.
Of the 105 Louisiana House districts, 29 had too many constituents and 37 had too few constituents.
Similarly, the Louisiana Senate will also see many changes. Of the 39 Senate districts, 10 had too many constituents, and 15 had too few constituents, Lowrey-Dufour says.
Half of all eight BESE districts also have either too many or too few residents, and one of the five Public Service Commission districts has too much of a deviation. Read the full story from Louisiana Illuminator.