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Metro Council members to announce lawsuit over new district map Wednesday

2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago Saturday, June 22 2024 Jun 22, 2024 June 22, 2024 1:03 PM June 22, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Multiple East Baton Rouge Metro Council members will announce a lawsuit regarding how the parish's new district map set to take effect in 2025 violates the Voting Rights Act Wednesday.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit will include Baton Rouge Metro Council Members Cleve Dunn, Jr., Chauna Banks, Darryl Hurst, Lamont Cole, Carolyn Coleman, and others.

Plaintiffs believe the new map dilutes voting strength by “packing” large numbers of Black voters into a few majority-Black council districts. They also claim the new map packs more than 68.5% of the Parish’s Black registered voters into 42% of the Parish’s Metro Council districts.

Additionally, they claim white residents have been declining in numbers in Baton Rouge and are no longer the majority, but the new map would create an additional majority-white council district and increase white control of the Metro Council.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome issued a statement standing with the lawsuit, saying she is committed to ensuring that our community’s fair representation reflects our diverse population." Additionally, she said "the current makeup of the East Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council does not accurately represent the demographics of [the] parish."

"The proposed new district map, set to take effect in 2025, unfortunately, continues this imbalance by diluting the voting strength of our black residents, undermining their representation," Broome said. "The math doesn’t add up—East Baton Rouge Parish is roughly 50% black, but the new map only designates five of the twelve metro council districts as majority black when there should be six."

The group plans to hold a press conference announcing the filing at the steps of Baton Rouge City Hall on Wednesday, June 26. The lawsuit has not yet been filed.

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