Judge Patricia Minaldi is expected to rule next week on the challenge brought by a Grand Lake man over the Cameron Parish Police Jury redistricting plan. The trial took place yesterday in U.S. District Court in Lake Charles.
The purpose of redistricting after the census is so each district has about the same number of people. But in Cameron Parish jurors say that's easier said than done.
Theoretically you don't want one district with 800 people and another with 1200 people. But that is what the Cameron parish plan calls for-- in large part, say jurors, because various communities are largely isolated-- separated by big areas of uninhabitable marsh.
Still, Richard Toerner filed the challenge. The way Toerner sees it, with the districts the way that they are, it's like letting 700 people tell 1100 people what to do. He says it's simply an issue of fairness. "So you basically have 777 people canceling the vote out of 1100 people. And basically you would have 400 people there that, they might as well not even show up at the polls, according to the numbers that are in place right now."
Yet from the witness stand jurors defended their redistricting plan explaining they tried not to bust up communities but to keep them intact.
Another problem jurors say is that with more equal districts jurors would have too large a geographical area to cover-- and any juror whose district crossed the river would spend big chunks of time traveling because of the ferry; and course when ferry's out even more time traveling.
Following the trial, attorney Cade Cole, who is representing the Cameron Police Jury said they feel respecting the Calcasieu River as a district boundary is reasonable because of travel difficulties and ferry outages.
Also it may be worth noting that the U.S. Justice Department has pre cleared the Cameron Parish redistricting plan.