Our View: Drawing New Maps Is Political, But Louisiana Can Do Much Better | Our views
They say you can’t take politics out of politics. But the legislature, as it proves this week, is not capable of doing politics in a way that works for the state, rather than for its own members and fellow politicians.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, vetoed two identical special session bills drawing a new map — required every 10 years after a national census — for the state’s six congressional districts. That map, passed by the GOP majority of the Legislative Assembly, would protect the five Republican incumbents but leave only one district in which a minority is likely to be elected, despite census figures placing the black population of the ‘state about one-third of the total.
Lawmakers will vote on whether to override Edwards’ vetoes. If they fail, they will re-map, but it’s unclear whether the February political deals will hold.
The governor also allowed bills to become law, without his signature, drawing new maps for the state House and Senate. Those he also rightly criticized for not adding even a single majority-minority district in a state with growing black and non-white populations.
All politics? Well yes. But other states are trying to make decisions more informed and fair by requiring lawmakers to vote on new maps drawn by independent commissions.
This approach, as we’ve said many times, starts the process from the right place: new cards based not on political advantage, but on more objective standards established by US Voting Rights Law and common sense.
When the Legislature returns to business as usual, we hope members will adopt a version of a better plan proposed by Rep. Cedric Glover of Shreveport.
House Bill 562 would create a citizens’ panel to circumvent the endless political deals that marked this year’s redistricting session.
Maybe it won’t work, but it’s better than the alternative, which we saw in February.