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Council Members and Advocates Challenge Baton Rouge District Map, Citing Voting Rights Concerns

Council Members Cleve Dunn, Jr., Chauna Banks, Darryl Hurst, Lamont Cole, Carolyn Coleman, and others gearing up to announce a lawsuit against the parish's newly redrawn district map, claiming it unfairly weakens Black voters' influence.
Council Members Cleve Dunn, Jr., Chauna Banks, Darryl Hurst, Lamont Cole, Carolyn Coleman, and others gearing up to announce a lawsuit against the parish's newly redrawn district map, claiming it unfairly weakens Black voters' influence.

Baton Rouge, LA – Tensions are escalating within the East Baton Rouge Metro Council as five African American council members prepare to file a lawsuit against the parish, alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The legal action challenges the newly approved district map, which the plaintiffs argue dilutes the voting power of Black residents.


The plaintiffs, Mayor Pro Tem Lamont Cole, and council members Chauna Banks, Daryl Hurst, Carolyn Coleman, and Cleve Dunn, Jr., are represented by the law firm Most & Associates. They assert that the revised map unfairly consolidates nearly 70% of Black registered voters into only 42% of the Metro Council districts. This redistricting, they claim, will bolster white control of the council by establishing a majority-white district, thus diminishing Black representation in city governance.


Currently, the Metro Council comprises a narrow 7 to 5 majority, with African Americans holding significant representation. The new map, set to be implemented in 2025, is viewed by the plaintiffs as a regressive move that undermines the political influence of Black residents. The council members argue that fair redistricting is essential to maintain equitable representation.


Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome has publicly supported the lawsuit, emphasizing the importance of ensuring that all residents' voices are equally heard. "The proposed district map continues the imbalance by diluting the voting strength of our Black residents," she stated. "The math doesn't add up, and I stand with the council members fighting for fair representation."


However, some council members dispute the racial implications of the redistricting process. "It's appalling to claim that every unfavorable vote is racially motivated," said an opposing council member, expressing frustration over the allegations. These dissenting members argue that the redistricting efforts are not racially biased but rather a necessary adjustment to reflect demographic changes in the parish.


The lawsuit aims to prompt local, state, and federal authorities to address what the plaintiffs see as violations of the Voting Rights Act. The press conference is scheduled for Wednesday, June 26, at 3:30 p.m. Central Time on the steps of Baton Rouge City Hall, located at 222 St. Louis St. The outcome of this legal battle could significantly impact the political landscape and representation within East Baton Rouge Parish.


For the African American community, this lawsuit represents a critical fight for maintaining and enhancing their political influence and ensuring fair representation in local government.

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