For all but the most politically attuned, the redistricting process that plays out after every U.S. census isn’t likely to set pulses pounding. But how political districts are drawn is vitally important to everyone who votes, and can set the stage for major policy decisions for a decade.
That’s why politicians themselves tend to be extraordinarily focused on redistricting. Done one way — the usual way, frankly — elected officials can essentially choose their voters by drawing themselves into favorable districts, or having their allies in the Legislature do it for them. The end result is often that some perspectives wind up amplified, and some diluted.
We believe democracy requires that all views get fair hearings. The best way to ensure that is for voters themselves to get involved.
For those interested in learning how, the state Legislature will hold nine regional forums across Louisiana, which will be streamed live. The process gets started Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and runs through mid-January. Soon after, lawmakers are expected to hold a special session to draw new district lines for Congress, Public Service Commission, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state Supreme Court, and the state House and Senate.
Some advocacy groups, including the ACLU, are also planning their own forums. However they do it, we urge voters to study up and speak out.
Redistricting may not be the juiciest topic, but if you care about what government does, you should care whether the political maps are drawn so that your voice is heard when and where decisions are made.