Local Government Reapportionment/Redistricting

April 19, 2011

Redistricting is an issue that must be addressed by every political body. Redistricting is the redrawing of boundaries for areas from which people elect representatives. Both State Law and Federal Law require election districts to be representative of its voting popoulation and to be examined using data from the decennial Census. The data was delivered to Congress and must be delivered to States no later than April 1, 2011 (1 year after Census Day).

Based on election cycles of 2011 and requirements of Louisiana law, it is urgent that local governing jurisdictions in Louisiana make arrangements to conduct an immediate and timely redistricting/reapportionment process.

A reapportionment plan must be completed in time to review the proposed plan, have a public hearing, respond to issues from the public hearing, prepare ordinances and resolutions, accept the plan, and submit it to the appropriate bodies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, in a timely fashion. Each reapportion plan must be approved and accepted for implementation prior to the next qualification of elections. In effect, this requirements tightens the time availability for completing the prcoess due to Fall 2011 elections.

All plans must be submitted for U.S. Department of Justice review at least 60 days prior to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s cut-off to receive notice of Section 5 (US DOJ) preclearance <in the form of a letter of no objection>.  In effect, the plan and accompanying documentation should be received by the US DOJ prior to the end of June (preferably on or prior to June 25, 2011, in accommodation of the 60 day review period) to meet administrative requirements of the Louisiana Secretary of State.

As many local governments must introduce an ordinance 30 days before it can be voted upon, most local governments must complete their legal documents in May, and then advertise the availability of a local package for review and for comment. 

Many of Louisiana Planning Districts offer professional reapportionment services at competitive, and usually below-market, fees. As Planning Districts are familiar with local areas and possess expertise in GIS and project development, we are distinctly positioned to provide these technical and specialized, professional services within our regions.