BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Sixteen civil rights groups have asked the Louisiana Legislature to increase the number of majority-Black legislative districts as part of the latest round of redistricting.

The ACLU of Louisiana, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and 14 other organizations signed an open letter arguing that Louisiana’s Black population is underrepresented at both the state and federal level.

“The State Legislature makes policy decisions that affect every aspect of life in Louisiana, including access to education, economic opportunity, housing, health care, and criminal justice. So, it is imperative that all Louisianans have a fair shot at electing representatives who will fight for their concerns,” said ACLU of Louisiana Advocacy Director Chris Kaiser.

“Right now, people of color in Louisiana make up 42% of Louisiana’s population, yet only about 25% of our current legislators are people of color. This harsh underrepresentation is depriving thousands of Louisianans, particularly in our Black communities, of political power,” he added.

The letter outlines the ways in which the groups say Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act obligates the new district maps to include more majority-Black districts and includes proposals for how the new maps should be drawn.

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act requires that majority-minority districts be drawn in some circumstances to ensure racial or ethnic minorities in the United States can elect members of their choice to legislatures.

Louisiana’s congressional district mapping has been the target of at least two lawsuits in recent years alleging that the current maps do not fairly represent the state’s population.