GONZALES-The U.S. Department of Justice does not object to Ascension Parish’s redistricting plan for Parish Council districts, a letter from the federal agency says.
Dated Aug. 29, the pre-clearance letter comes on the last day the parish had to submit such a letter to the Louisiana Secretary of State so council elections could go forward this fall, parish elections officials said.
The Parish Council had to refashion its 11 districts after the 2010 census registered a decade of rapid growth and shifts in population.
The Department of Justice must pre-clear such plans in states with a history of segregation to ensure they do not violate the federal Voting Rights Act.
From 2000 to 2010, Ascension saw the fastest growth in Louisiana, increasing nearly 40 percent, census data shows.
The plans shifts representation to the northern and central parts of the parish - where heavy growth has occurred - and further reduced representation on the west bank.
Under the plan, the west bank has only two council seats, down from three.