MORGAN CITY — After Tuesday night’s city council meeting, at which residents voiced concerns about how they would be affected by the redistricting and the racial elements tied to it, city leaders have decided to hold another public meeting at which citizens can see consulting demographer Mike Hefner and the census data that he and the city are charged with using to make the redistricting decisions, and ask questions.
The meeting will be held Tuesday, May 8, at 6 p.m. at Walmsley United Methodist Church, 608 Freret Street. City leaders are encouraging the public to attend.
At issue during Tuesday night’s city council meeting were discrepancies between data from the 2010 U.S. Census and demographic data that residents of Morgan City claim to see with their own eyes.
The Rev. Ron Bias, councilman for District 3, the city’s majority-minority district, said there is “a possibility that (there) is, and it’s a possibility that (there) isn’t” under-representation for the census data in the local black community, due in part to a nationwide dynamic of black people being less likely to trust government and authority.
“I can see mistrust,” he said. “The dynamic is there, even though nobody can really measure it.”
Bias said that “there are some factors and percentages that are unseen. It is true that there is a phobia, not just with African-Americans, but with people in general, that they do not register to vote because they do not want jury duty,” he said.
Juries in Louisiana are drawn from Office of Motor Vehicle records, not voter rolls.