Parish Redistricting Plan Meets Federal Approval

Staff reports

The 2011 Ascension Parish Redistricting Plan met with federal approval last Monday, according to a letter from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).

 The DOJ did not object to the changes in the plan, which includes realignment, consolidation, elimination and creation of voting precincts and their designations of polling places, along with a polling place change. Parish elections will proceed on Oct. 22.

But, according to the pre-clearance letter, the DOJ’s non-objection to the plan does not bar a lawsuit blocking its enforcement.

The Ascension Parish Council approved and submitted the new plan on July 5 but provided additional information up until Monday, Aug. 29.

The DOJ reviews redistricting maps to ensure that the lines drawn do not discriminate or dilute minority votes.

Following the 2010 census, the present 11 council districts had to be updated to reflect those new census numbers. According to the census, heavy population growth has occurred mostly in the northern and central parts of the parish, resulting in the west bank having two council seats instead of three seats.

“Myself and the other councilman are very satisfied that the plan was approved,” Parish Council Chairman Pat Bell said. “It was a hard, arduous process and we want to thank John Diez for his work and leadership in presenting our plan to the Justice Department.”