Federal Judges Block Newly Drawn Louisiana Congressional Map

May 3, 2024
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Rick Rojas, The New York Times

A newly drawn congressional map in Louisiana was struck down on Tuesday by a panel of federal judges who found that the new boundaries, which form a second majority Black district in the state, amounted to an “impermissible racial gerrymander” that violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The 2-to-1 ruling now leaves uncertain which boundaries will be used in the November elections, which are just six months away and could play a critical role in determining the balance of power in the House of Representatives.

Critics warned that the decision could have broader implications on voting rights. Eric H. Holder Jr., the former U.S. attorney general and current chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said the “ideological nature of the decision could not be more clear.”

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Ida B. Wells Was a Pathbreaking Data Storyteller

April 30, 2024
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State Voices
In our movement for a just democracy, we often affirm that data and technology, in the hands of oppressed communities, can help liberate us. The life and legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett provides compelling evidence of this truth.  Born Ida Bell Wells in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862 and often writing under the pseudonym, “Lola” throughout her career, Wells’ legacy as a courageous reporter and activist has made her a symbol of justice journalism, Black resistance, and Black feminist organizing.  Her work also proved that data is more accurate when collected and driven by communities, making her a trailblazing data specialist and storyteller. ...
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Power Coalition rep discusses Shreveport’s 3 bond proposals

April 24, 2024
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KSLA News
BIlly Anderson, North Louisiana Organizer for the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice discusses the 3 Bond Proposals before Shreveport Voters. Election Day is Saturday, April 27....
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Beauty, Barbers, and Ballots event stresses voting, civic engagement

March 14, 2024
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by Ya'Lisha Gatewood, KTAL News
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS)—Local hair salon owners are partnered to host a Beauty, Barbers, and Ballots mixer. The event kicked off at Haze on Texas Street at 8 pm and went on until midnight. The event creators aimed to unite beauty professionals and enthusiasts to promote voter registration and participation and to get people out to party with a purpose....
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Louisiana legislation targets mail-in absentee voting as it gains in popularity

March 12, 2024
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by Wesley Muller, Louisiana Illuminator
Louisiana lawmakers have filed legislation that would make it harder to vote by mail, particularly for elderly shut-ins and people with disabilities, just as record numbers cast ballots Saturday on the first day of early voting in the state’s March 23 presidential primary election. Since Louisiana adopted early voting almost 20 years ago, it has steadily grown in popularity. The coronavirus pandemic created a surge in mail-in voting that continues to increase, according to Baton Rouge pollster John Couvillon.  Saturday saw a 17% increase in mail-in voting for the first day of early voting compared with the 2020 presidential primary. There was an even greater spike for In-person early voting, which was up 89% relative to four years ago, with six days remaining to cast a ballot ahead of time. ...
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Early voting begins in Shreveport

March 9, 2024
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By Henrietta Wildsmith, Shreveport Times
Early voting began Saturday morning, March 9, 2024, at Caddo Parish Registrar of Voters located at 525 Marshall Street in downtown Shreveport....
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Black Louisianans Enter a New Political Era

January 25, 2024
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By Brandon Tensley, Capital B
With a fair congressional map signed into law, advocates shift to making sure that residents understand the stakes of this year’s elections. Baton Rouge resident Ashley Shelton was overjoyed when she learned that, after a years-long legal battle, Black Louisianans have secured greater political representation. On Monday, Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed into law a map that follows the math by adding a second majority-Black congressional district. Previously, Black Louisianans had a fair shot at electing their preferred candidate in only one of the Bayou State’s six congressional districts, even though Louisiana is 33% Black. “This whole story has been about the judges, the U.S. Supreme Court, the legislators, the governors. But, ultimately, the people are who got us here,” Shelton, the president and founder of the New Orleans-based nonprofit Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, which was a plaintiff in the case, told Capital B. “People power made this happen —...
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Louisiana makes history with new Black congressional district that includes Shreveport

January 22, 2024
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By Greg Hilburn, Shreveport Times, in Daily World
Louisiana has a second majority Black congressional district for the first time in decades after Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed off on a new map Monday passed by the Legislature during a Special Session last week. Lawmakers dismantled Republican U.S. Rep. Garret Graves’ 6th Congressional District to create the new majority Black district that includes parts of Shreveport, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge as the population centers, putting Graves’ political future in danger....
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Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Map That Empowers More Black Voters

January 19, 2024
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By Emily Cochrane for the New York Times
The Legislature passed a congressional map that creates a second majority-Black district while shielding the state’s most powerful conservatives in Washington from political jeopardy. Louisiana lawmakers on Friday approved a new congressional map that would create a second district with a majority of Black voters, after a federal court found that the existing map appeared to illegally undercut the power of Black voters in the state. Given that Black voters often back Democratic candidates in the state, the new map also increases the possibility of Democrats’ taking control of a second congressional seat in Louisiana....
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How Phase III came to be

January 2, 2024
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By Nick Chrastil for NOLA Lens
Though they once applauded the jail’s ambitious, federally overseen reforms, community groups and political leaders in New Orleans united in opposition to a key mandate stemming from those efforts: the construction of a $109 million mental health jail. Mayors agreed to it, opposed it, agreed to it again, and opposed it again. Multiple working groups met to produce lengthy reports on it, and possible alternatives. Advocates tried to stop its construction by blocking zoning permits, funding allocations, and attempting to influence FEMA environmental-impact statements. They camped out in front of City Hall, organized a letter-writing campaign to a federal judge and held rallies and second lines in opposition. A reform candidate ran for sheriff touting her disapproval of it — and won. ...
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Activists who engage with voters of color are looking for messages that will resonate in 2024

December 30, 2023
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By Ayanna Alexander and Gary Fields for AP News
WASHINGTON (AP) — This year’s elections in Louisiana didn’t go the way that voting rights advocate Ashley Shelton had hoped, with the far-right conservative attorney general replacing a term-limited Democratic governor and consolidating Republican control in the state. Turnout was just 37%, despite the efforts of activists like her. “Even when you work hard and you do all the things you’re supposed to, you get an unfortunate outcome, which was these statewide elections,” said Shelton, the executive director of Power Coalition for Equity & Justice in Louisiana....
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It Takes A Village: New Orleans Group Partners With Others To Get Out The Vote

December 29, 2023
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Rachel Thomas, KSLA News 12
At a recent listening session, Ashley Shelton, founder and executive director of the New Orleans-based nonprofit Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, learned something about why Louisiana’s Black vote in November’s statewide general elections was the lowest in more than a decade. “Nothing is changed in my life,” a Black, middle-aged contractor told the group, beginning an exchange with Shelton about how the 2024 elections will affect his life....
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Judge makes ruling in Caddo Parish sheriff recount lawsuit

December 5, 2023
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Rachel Thomas, KSLA News 12
CADDO PARISH, La. (KSLA) – Retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice E. Joseph Bleich has made a ruling in the election lawsuit filed by Caddo Parish sheriff candidate, John Nickelson. That ruling came down Tuesday, Dec. 5. The judge ruled the results of the Nov. 18 runoff election, in which Henry Whitehorn defeated Nickelson by one vote, are declared void. It was further ordered a new runoff election shall be conducted. It’s expected that Whitehorn’s team will appeal this decision. They have until 9:56 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 8 to do so. The ruling states “it was proven beyond any doubt that there were at least 11 illegal votes cast and counted” and that it is “legally impossible to know what the true vote should have been.”...
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Democrats Held Off the GOP in Legislative Races This Year, Again Bucking Expectations

November 21, 2023
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Daniel Nichanian, BOLTS
“When you gerrymander people’s power away, you can’t elect candidates of choice,” says Ashley Shelton, executive director of Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, a Louisiana organization that focuses on voter outreach. “We understand the power of gerrymandering: It’s not that Black people don’t care or don’t want to vote, it’s that the power of their vote has been lessened....
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To Have Hope, We Need Joy

November 15, 2023
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Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice
“If you can’t figure it out in Louisiana, you can’t figure it out anywhere,” says Ashley Shelton, Executive Director of Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. As leader of one of the state’s most powerful civic engagement tables, she sees the abysmally low voter turnout in last month’s gubernatorial election — just 36 percent, the lowest in a decade — and the hard right state government it portends as a call to action, not a time to throw in the towel....
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Who will draw new congressional map for Louisiana? Edwards, Landry debate who calls the session

November 13, 2023
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Shannon Heckt for BRProud
“At every step of the redistricting process, Black Louisianans have fought hard for our communities’ right to be fully represented,” said Ashley Shelton, president and CEO of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. “The people of Louisiana deserve to be a part of a fair political process that works for all, not just some. We look forward to continuing to advocate for voters as they push for a fair map.”...
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Power Coalition for Equity and Justice offering rides to the polls

November 13, 2023
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by Reggi Marion for BRProud
The voter turnout for the October 14th primary was called “historically bad” by Governor John Bel Edwards, The Power Coalition for Equity & Justice is stepping up efforts to educate voters on the importance of casting their ballots and making it easier for voters to get to the polls....
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Organizers aim to get out the vote with rally at SULSA

November 10, 2023
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by Emma Discher for The Advocate
As early voting continues across Louisiana, The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice brought together Shreveport students and community members to rally in celebration and head to the polls. It is part of PCEJ’s expansive get out the vote efforts. The SULSA rally featured local speakers and information to mobilize voters....
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Grambling State University students rally to raise awareness to vote

October 3, 2023
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by Destiny Beasley for KNOE8
No excerpt...
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Civil rights groups host voter registration event for minority residents

September 15, 2023
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by Khalil Gillon for Verite News
No excerpt...
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Your guide to amendments up for vote in Louisiana’s October election

September 11, 2023
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by Zach Labbé for WGNO-TV New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) –– As Louisiana prepares for the Gubernatorial Primary Election on Oct.14, voters will also decide on four amendments. Here’s a breakdown of each amendment and how to ensure you are ready to vote....
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Some New Orleans absentee voters receive incomplete ballots for March 25 election

March 8, 2023
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By David Jones for Fox 8 Live
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – With a March 25 municipal primary election fast approaching, voters who requested them have begun receiving absentee ballots in the mail. But for some, the ballots they received are incomplete. There should be two judicial races on the ballot, and voters living in House District 93 also should have a runoff decision for the state representative seat vacated by now-State Sen. Royce Duplessis. But according to some voters who reached out to Fox 8, the absentee ballots they received only had the judicial races, even though they live in House District 93. “If people saw this and didn’t realize (the House race) wasn’t on the ballot and don’t think about it, they just send it back in,” said one voter who asked not to be identified....
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Louisiana House 93 race heads to March runoff after low-turnout affair

February 18, 2023
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by Matt Sledge for NOLA.com
A crowded race to replace Royce Duplessis in the state House of Representatives will go to a runoff after none of the six candidates secured a majority of the vote, in an election held on a busy day in the Carnival calendar that drew few voters to the polls....
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HCR 14 Disability Voting Task Force to Reconvene

January 23, 2023
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For Immediate Release:  January 23, 2023 BATON ROUGE, LA— Tomorrow, January 24, 2023, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ) will reconvene at 1 p.m. (CST) at the Claiborne Building in the Thomas Jefferson Room with others who are a part of the HCR 14 Disability Voting Task Force. The 13 member group came about after the 2022 Legislative Session as a way to study how the state could expand voting rights for those with disabilities.  “At Power Coalition we’re working to continue expanding voting access in Louisiana. As we work during each election with our partners at Legal Defense Fund (LDF) to provide election protection, we see and hear about the problems voters with disabilities face in Louisiana,” said Ashley Shelton, CEO of PCEJ. “This is a chance for us to work in collaboration, address issues, and positively improve voting through policy recommendations.” The task force group, which started...
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This Louisiana trend helped a progressive challenger steamroll a 17-year incumbent

December 13, 2022
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By Sam Karlin and Matt Sledge for NOLA.com
Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere of New Orleans started his re-election bid with a respectable warchest, three terms under his belt and the backing of some of the state’s most powerful Democrats. It ended in a rout. Boissiere got crushed by nearly 20 points by Davante Lewis, a 30-year-old progressive who lives in Baton Rouge and works for a left-leaning nonprofit advocacy group. Lewis will be the first openly LGBTQ person elected to state office in Louisiana....
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Voter Advocacy Organization Prepares for Runoff Election Day

December 9, 2022
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For Immediate Release:  December 10, 2022 NEW ORLEANS, LA— Today, December 10, 2022, is runoff election day and polling locations across the state will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Throughout the day, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ) will be providing rides to the polls, voter protection services, and other information and support to people across Louisiana. Everyone will have something on the ballot, including three important constitutional amendments and some local positions.  “Every election is important, and each year the stakes are raised. We’ve been working with partners to educate voters about what the Public Service Commissioner does and how this position impacts national climate goals, but also public utilities that are needed in the day-to-day life of everyone. Someone who holds that much power should be accountable to the people they serve. In order for everyone to vote with confidence, voters need to...
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State Voices Showed Up For The Critical Runoff Elections In Georgia And Louisiana

December 7, 2022
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By State Voices
In November, our network educated voters, drove turnout in BIPOC communities, and ensured voters could cast their ballots free from interference and intimidation. Now we’re bringing the same energy and relentless focus on fair representation to Georgia and Louisiana as we did to our entire network in November. ...
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Lambert Boissiere, Davante Lewis square off ahead of Public Service Commission runoff

November 30, 2022
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By Sam Karlin for NOLA.com
The two candidates for the Public Service Commission district that represents New Orleans and parts of Baton Rouge sought to distance themselves from one another Wednesday in a testy debate ahead of the Dec. 10 runoff election. Commissioner Lambert Boissiere, who is facing a rare runoff for an incumbent, defended the commission’s record, touting Louisiana’s relatively low electric rates. He said the PSC is “moving in the right direction” with recent deals for renewables and competitive energy....
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What Louisiana needs to know about 3 constitutional amendments on Dec. 10 runoff ballot

November 30, 2022
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by Paul Braun, WKRF Baton Rouge
In New Orleans, all eyes are on the Public Service Commission runoff on Dec. 10, but in many parts of the state, three proposed constitutional amendments will be the only thing on Louisiana voters’ ballots. If passed, the amendments would clarify who can vote in state and local elections and would give the state Senate the opportunity to weigh in on the governor’s appointment to certain state oversight panels....
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Televised Debate For Louisiana Public Service Commission District 3 hosted by Alliance for Affordable Energy, HousingLOUISIANA, and Power Coalition for Equity and Justice  

November 28, 2022
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New Orleans, Louisiana | November 28, 2022 – The two candidates in the Runoff Race for Louisiana Public Service Commission District 3, incumbent Lambert Boissiere III, and challenger Davante Lewis, will face off in a televised debate airing on WLAE-TV on Wednesday, November 30th at 8pm. The debate is being hosted by the Alliance for Affordable Energy, HousingLOUISIANA and Power Coalition for Equity and Justice.  Norman Robinson will serve as moderator.   The Louisiana Public Service Commission regulates public utilities in the state of Louisiana. It is a powerful government body that makes real decisions about your energy bills, significantly impacting the lives of residents in our state every single day.  The election is Saturday, December 10, 2022. The Debate Will Air on WLAE:  Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 8pm  Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 5pm  Monday, December 5, 2022 at 11pm  Media interested in covering the debate should contact Amy Barrios at 504-621-5646 or amy@mmsnola.com for...
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Louisiana voters rejected an antislavery ballot measure. The reasons are complicated

November 17, 2022
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By Kaitlyn Radde for NPR
Out of five states that put measures to voters on the subject, Louisiana voters were the only ones to vote against banning slavery and involuntary servitude in the state constitution, according to calls by The Associated Press. This year, in Vermont, Oregon, Alabama and Tennessee, voters decided to ban slavery and involuntary servitude....
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Four States Voted to End Slavery — But Not Louisiana. Here’s Why.

November 10, 2022
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By Mike Ludwig, Truthout
Voters in Vermont, Tennessee, Oregon and Alabama amended their state constitutions to abolish slavery and indentured servitude this week — but a similar initiative failed in Louisiana, garnering embarrassing headlines for a former slave state that remains infamous for modern mass incarceration and forced prison labor....
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Where do the Louisiana Senate candidates stand on economic development?

November 8, 2022
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By Christa Swanson, myarklamiss.com
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – With inflation and the costs of oil and goods skyrocketing, the economy is a hot topic in the 2022 election. Where do the candidates for Senator in Louisiana stand?...
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Louisiana Statewide Election Tuesday, November 8th

November 8, 2022
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For Immediate Release Voters across the state of Louisiana will have the opportunity to cast their vote for important elected positions and amendments this November 8th. The 2022 elections in Louisiana are proving to be extremely crucial this year, with some positions and amendments on the ballot that we may not have a chance to vote on for years to come. Polling Locations will be open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  Power Coalition for Equity and Justice will be providing rides to the polls all day on election day as well as operating from our headquarters in New Orleans, as a base for over 100 volunteers who will be canvassing, phone and text banking, as well as carrying out election protection efforts. We have similar operations occurring in Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lake Charles, and Shreveport.  This year we are continuing our deep partnership with the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund,...
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Souls to the Polls Mini Grants available for Faith Leaders

November 8, 2022
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For Immediate Release This Election Season the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice is providing Faith Leaders across the state of Louisiana with mini-grants to bring Souls to the Polls. This initiative is a part of PCEJ’s statewide Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategy that has been in place leading up to the general election and the following run-off. As the Power Coalition gears up for a crucial election season with important elected positions and amendments on the ballot, it is more critical than ever that we meet voters where they are. Communities of faith are sources of engagement socially, emotionally, and spiritually for hundreds of thousands of people across Louisiana; we hope to mobilize them civically as well.  As of November 7th, 2022, PCEJ has allocated nearly 20,000 dollars to more than 15 Faith Leaders based in Alexandria, New Orleans, Lake Charles, Shreveport, East and West Baton Rouge, and...
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Mark Ballard: Nation is apprehensive going into Tuesday’s midterm elections

November 5, 2022
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By Mark Ballard, Nola.com
WASHINGTON — Anxiety is the best description as the nation’s voters approach the Tuesday election that will decide which party controls Congress for the next two years....
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In Louisiana, Democrats seize on abortion to motivate voters

November 2, 2022
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By Roby Chavez for PBS News Hour
NEW ORLEANS – As early voting began in Louisiana last week, Taetrece Harrison and her mother waited for the polls to open. Most of the people in line with them were women. Harrison and her mother were both galvanized by this summer’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which triggered Louisiana’s near-total ban on abortion. More than 363,000 votes have been cast during the early voting period, which ended November 1....
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Storm Survivors, 16 Advocacy Orgs Recognize Sandy, Major Storm Anniversaries & Release New Report On Fixing Federal Disaster Recovery System

October 29, 2022
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MEDIA ADVISORYOctober 29, 2022 CONTACTKatie Baker, Petkanas Strategiespress@zpstrategies.com Dozens of Storm Survivors, 16 Grassroots Organizations From New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico Gathered to Mark 10-year Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and 5-year anniversary of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, 1-year Anniversary of Hurricane Ida  Release New Roadmap With Recommendations For Congress and Federal Government To Improve Broken Federal Disaster Response System’s Ability To Handle Increased Severity & Frequency Of Storms Due to Climate Change  Recommendations Include Distributing Disaster Recovery Funding Faster, Reforming Flood Insurance Program   The Full Report Can Be Found Here   Photos from the Event Will Be Uploaded Here   PORT MONMOUTH, NJ – Today, a coalition of storm survivors, fifteen advocacy organizations and lawmakers from New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Puerto Rico gathered to commemorate the anniversaries of major storms in their states and release a new report detailing policy recommendations addressing how the federal national disaster response systems leave communities...
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Members of Divine Nine organizations ‘Stroll to the Polls’ as early voting nears an end

October 28, 2022
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By Carmen Lofton for KTBS3
SHREVEPORT, La.-In partnership with the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, members of the Divine Nine, a collective of Black Greek-lettered organizations, gathered in the parking lot of Remington College for a “Stroll to the Polls” event aimed at encouraging early voting in Shreveport.  The event featured food, entertainment and fellowship as a way to highlight the secondary early voting location at Shreve Memorial Library. ...
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Ahead of election, Louisiana activists know abortion ban is staying; but they’re still fighting

October 27, 2022
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By Rosemary Westwood for WWNO
A group of four phone-bankers sat around a conference table at the offices of Women With A Vision in New Orleans, a group that advocates for abortion rights, about a month before the midterm elections, dialing up voters across Louisiana to ask them about reproductive rights. They didn’t use the word abortion — it tends to make people hang up on them. Instead, they said they were calling about “Louisiana’s statewide decision in regards to family planning” and “women’s reproductive rights,” euphemisms for Louisiana’s near-total abortion ban in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade....
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‘Bike N Vote’ getting young NOLA voters to the polls for early voting

October 26, 2022
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By Kenny Lopez for WGNO
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The organization, Young People Vote, is hosting a “Bike N Vote” initiative, which provides free bikes for the community to use during early voting for local elections. The initiative is especially geared toward getting people of color out to the polls to vote.  “Voting is a part of our right as humans and our ancestors fought for years to uphold the integrity and equity of the vote. We must continue those efforts throughout the years,” Morgan Walker, Young People Vote and Bike N Vote Founder said....
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Bike N Vote being held to inspire minorities to vote

October 26, 2022
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By Jessica Knox for BRProud
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – Young People Vote invites the public to bike through downtown Shreveport to go vote when the early voting is open. On Oct. 29, the nonpartisan state-based civic engagement and movement-building organization, Young People Vote is hosting Bike N Vote across the state of Louisiana with a focus on getting Black and brown people, especially gen Z, gen X, and millenials energies up for the upcoming election....
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Power Coalition for Equity and Justice Advocating for Early Voting in Caddo Parish

October 21, 2022
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For Immediate Release Shreveport, LA– Today, October 21, 2022, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ), along with partners will celebrate the commencement of a second early voting location in Caddo Parish at the Shreve Memorial Library- Hamilton/South Caddo Branch. This significant moment and location will be marked by a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m.  “This moment is a huge win for those in the community of Caddo,” said Ashley Shelton, CEO of PCEJ. “Since 2016, the people have been demanding a second early voting location. Early voting is one way people can show up and have their voices heard. It gives voters juggling responsibilities options on when and how they can make time to still get to the polls. In this day and age flexibility makes a difference in how people participate.”  In 2021, PCEJ along with a group of partner organizations drafted a letter to the Caddo...
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Voting Rights Activists Look Beyond Supreme Court To People Power

October 19, 2022
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by Khalil Abdullah for The Seattle Medium
WASHINGTON, DC — Shortly ahead of arguing before the Supreme Court on a voting rights lawsuit that bears his name, Alabama attorney Evan Milligan was already looking forward to what needs to be done to secure permanent voting rights protections for all Americans. “My hope is not based on the court,” Milligan said at a recent news conference. “My hope is based on the agency of my people and our allies.”...
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Power Coalition for Equity & Justice President says ‘Every vote counts’

October 16, 2022
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By Jessica Knox for BRProud
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – If you missed the deadline to register to vote in person you still have a chance to register to vote online. The Power Coalition for Equity & Justice explains why it’s important you make your voice heard.  “We must make sure that we are participating in this process, that we are voting and having our voices heard,” said Ashley Kennedy Shelton, Founder & President of Power Coalition for Equity & Justice....
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Vote Your Voice: In Louisiana, Power Coalition pursues justice at the polls

October 12, 2022
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By Ronda Sonnenberg, Senior Staff Writer, SPLC
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, a 2022 Vote Your Voice grantee, represents Louisianans like Deborah, who has a partial disability and walks with a cane. Deborah is one of the countless Black residents who, for over a century of Black voter suppression, have been forced to wage herculean efforts just to cast their ballots. Deborah was living in Red Cross evacuee housing in New Orleans, three hours’ drive from her home in Calcasieu Parish, after two mighty hurricanes struck in late summer 2020. When early voting began in October and she was instructed by her home parish board of elections official to vote in New Orleans, she tried one, and then a second polling location where the line was shorter. She never anticipated what happened next....
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A Win for Caddo Voters

October 12, 2022
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by Billy Anderson
Nearly 30,000 Caddo Parish residents voted early in 2020. During that critical election, many voters endured long lines that wrapped around the block and others had to walk several blocks to find free parking at voting sites. Some voters felt the lines were too long to wait and resigned to find another time when the wait might not be as long. There are limited hours at the single voting location and the average worker does not have the luxury to take off multiple times. Shreveport is the parish seat of Caddo Parish and has a population of close to 190,000 people. The parish itself has a land mass of approximately 852 square miles. Smaller parishes in Louisiana such as Calcasieu (Lake Charles) and Bossier Parish (Bossier City) have multiple early voting locations, which helps ease the barriers and burdens of early voting. The single early voting location site in Caddo...
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Tech issues keep public out of Disability Voting Task Force meeting

October 10, 2022
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By Wesley Muller for the Louisiana Illuminator
Technical difficulties at the Claiborne Building plagued Louisiana’s Disability Voting Task Force meeting Monday, preventing nearly 20 people from attending via its virtual live stream — a critical means of access for some disabled people.  Louisiana Secretary of State spokesman John Tobler said in a phone interview that the task force had experienced technical problems with YouTube’s live stream function and could not fix it without disconnecting others who attended via the Zoom platform. ...
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Get Out and Vote Canvassing Efforts Begin to Engage Black Voters Statewide

September 27, 2022
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For Immediate Release New Orleans, LA–  Yesterday,  Monday, September 26, 2022, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ) started an on the ground canvassing initiative in major cities like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Alexandria, and Lake Charles. The campaign is part of a statewide Get Out and Vote (GOTV) strategy currently underway ahead of the November 8, 2022 Primary Congressional election. In the beginning of September, PCEJ onboarded over 100 phone bankers and canvassers statewide to help register voters and educate about key ballot initiatives.  “Across the state there is a lot of voter potential,” said Ashley Shelton, CEO of PCEJ. “We have voters that are either unregistered or not active in every election. Each election matters and every voice matters. Our goal is to continue to engage and activate voters across the state to use their voice so that the true power of Black and brown voters...
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New Orleans Needs More Money for Services, Not for Police

September 22, 2022
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Sam McCann, Senior Writer // William Snowden, Director for Vera Institute of Justice
When the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed in 2021, White House officials were explicit: the $350 billion promised by the legislation was to be used by state and local governments to ensure sustainable, equitable, and inclusiverecovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For communities of color hit hardest by both the pandemic and decades of socioeconomic inequality, it was a chance to build the kind of basic local infrastructure—schools, jobs, and other resources—that build public safety....
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Shreveport mayoral candidates exchange ideas during downtown forum

September 21, 2022
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By Bill Lunn, KTBS3
SHREVEPORT, La. – Candidates for mayor of Shreveport faced off Tuesday night at a candidate forum exchanging ideas about how to drive the city forward. The event held at the Performance Gallery downtown on Commerce Street.  The event was moderated by Willie Burton....
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Downtown Shreveport Mayoral Forum brings small crowd

September 21, 2022
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By KTALnews.com
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — As election season continues, another mayoral forum took place in downtown Shreveport Tuesday. The crowd was small, and only five mayoral candidates were in attendance....
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Black Southern Women’s Collaborative Celebrates National Voter Registration Day 

September 21, 2022
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Published in the Tennessee Tribune
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Black Southern Women’s Collaborative today celebrated National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), a civic holiday meant to encourage voters to register to vote. The collective, which organizes across the South to improve the material conditions of Black people, pledged to register thousands of voters on NVRD and beyond. They also vowed to address long-standing barriers to the ballot such as felony disenfranchisement, voter purges, and intimidation at the polls. The group released the following statement:...
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A Choice Toward Change

September 20, 2022
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By Khalani Lloyd for Student Media
Voting has been an important aspect of community voices. It wasn’t until the 26th amendment that the minimum voting age for all citizens was 18 years old. This ratification enabled young adults in society to inspire change for newer generations as communities around the world continue to evolve....
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Black Voters Are Fighting Racial Gerrymandering in Louisiana

September 18, 2022
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By Ashley K. Shelton for Truthout
Black women are uniquely saddled with student loan debt. by Ashley Shelton in Truthout From record inflation to attacks on reproductive rights, to an unfair and inequitable redistricting, it can feel like all hope has been lost this year. But many voters are not giving up. My state of Louisiana has faced multiple challenges, particularly when it comes to the electoral process. Historically, we have seen literacy tests, brutal attacks on persons seeking to register to vote, the elimination of voting sites, changing polling sites without notification, and other efforts to deny and abridge the right to vote. We have experienced voter suppression in all its forms, including its newest more insidious form, racial and partisan gerrymandering.  In 2022, the Louisiana state legislature drew unfair congressional district lines. Voters, including those reached through my organization, the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, testified throughout this year’s redistricting process, which saw...
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Democracy Is Always On The Ballot For Black People

September 15, 2022
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By Anoa Changa for Newsone
“As it has been for generations of Black Americans, freedom is on the ballot, along with the Constitutional rights that define our citizenship,” said BlackPac’s Executive Director Adrianne Shropshire....
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Abortion ruling, laws energizing women in congressional midterm elections

September 10, 2022
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By Mark Ballard for NOLA.com
Increases in voter registration in women were noticed nationally, following the Supreme Court ruling on abortion...
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There are 4 constitutional amendments on Louisiana ballots Saturday. Here’s what they mean.

November 12, 2021
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by Mark Ballard, The Advocate
After years of doing taxes the same way, Louisiana voters beginning Saturday are being asked to decide if the state should head in a different direction. Forty-three parishes, like Orleans, are choosing local leadership or deciding propositions, like East Baton Rouge, which is seeking to renew a property tax that funds the local city buses....
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Louisiana Statewide Election Saturday, November 13

November 12, 2021
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For Immediate Release: November 12, 2021  Voters across the state can cast their ballot for Constitutional Amendments and local races on Saturday, November 13 from 7:00am-8:00pm.  Baton Rouge, LA– Every voter in the state has the opportunity to cast their vote during the election on Saturday, November 13. The ballot has 4 statewide Constitutional Amendments and many parishes and towns have local races on the ballot, including the New Orleans City Council and Mayor.  Polling locations will be open from 7:00am to 8:00pm. Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, a civic engagement organization, is encouraging voters affected by Hurricane Ida to check their polling location ahead of time because many have been moved, they say.  Power Coalition will be providing rides to the polls on election day. Voters who need a ride can call: (504) 612- 1513 or sign up at pcej.org/PowerRides.  “It is important to vote in every election,”...
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Sweeping Constitutional amendments on the ballot

October 28, 2021
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by Mark Ballard, The Advocate
After years of doing taxes the same way, Louisiana voters beginning Saturday are being asked to decide if the state should head in a different direction. Forty-three parishes, like Orleans, are choosing local leadership or deciding propositions, like East Baton Rouge, which is seeking to renew a property tax that funds the local city buses....
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Staging Nov. 13 election has been tough

October 21, 2021
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by Mark Ballard, The Advocate
Storm water had moved a tomb near the front door. When the door was opened a snake slithered out from the accumulated marsh grass. Jumping out of the way, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s only thought was “nope.”...
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