Public hearings for redrawing legislative maps to begin

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FILE – This April 5, 2020, photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. A group of Harvard researchers are coming out against the U.S. Census Bureau’s use of a controversial privacy method on the numbers used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts, saying it doesn’t produce data that are good enough for redistricting. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Starting this month, the public will be able to give their two cents on how they believe legislative districts should be drawn for the next ten years.

Now that the 2020 census data is in, the maps will determine who someone votes for and who represents them in the State Capitol, Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Legislators will be traveling the state to allow people a chance to share their opinion. Some nonpartisan groups are working to make sure the districts are not unfair toward any one political seat.

“They need to be clear that the maps should reflect the desires of the people and not the desires of the politicians,” said Stephen Kearny, the co-founder of Fair Districts Louisiana. “The way we draw maps in Louisiana is very corrupt in the way you have the politicians who are essentially able to choose their own voters.”

Data has already shown there is a possibility of shaking up the number of representatives in the northern part of the state. The lines for the Supreme Court districts will also be redrawn for the first time in decades.

Some groups are in favor of another minority-majority congressional district. Right now there is only one, which is held by Rep. Troy Carter. With the population of Louisiana growing more diverse in the southern part, it could lead to more competitive races.

“Louisiana has almost no competitive districts and so we’re really going to be lobbying for more of those in the state legislature,” Kearny said. “We have so many people who are always running unopposed in the state legislature and it really makes for a very stagnant democracy.”

The first meetings will be in two weeks and more visits are planned for Baton Rouge and New Orleans in November. A special redistricting session will be held in early 2022 where legislators will vote on the maps they want which have to be approved by the governor.

5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 20

University of Louisiana at Monroe

The Terrace – 7th Floor, University Library

700 University Avenue, Monroe, LA 71209

5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21

Louisiana State University in Shreveport

University Center Theater

One University Place, Shreveport, LA 71115

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