Every so often (typically after an election cycle), the Louisiana Secretary of State purges the voter rolls of inactive voters. This is typically a low key affair, but this year’s voter purge was noteworthy because it confirmed something that many have suspected since Hurricane Katrina – Metro New Orleans (particularly Orleans Parish) has lost a significant number of its people/voters. In fact, of the approximately 120K voters purged from the voter rolls, about 40% came from Orleans Parish alone.
We noticed several other interesting things about this voter purge: (1) St Bernard, Jefferson, and St Tammany also lost a significant number of voters – St Bernard lost another 12% from its voter rolls (since Katrina, St Bernard has lost a whopping 44% of its voters). Jefferson Parish lost 12K (or 4%) of its voters, while St Tammany lost another 5% of its voters; (2) Bossier Parish lost 5% of its voters due to the purge, but in this case, we believe that the presence of Barksdale Air Force Base means that there are significant numbers of transient servicemen/women who were still on the voter rolls; (3) East Baton Rouge Parish now has the most voters of any parish in Louisiana, with 266,742 registered voters.
The purge of registered voters can also illustrate the extent to which we think reapportionment will impact various parts of the state. If you were to look at the change in registered voters in the last decade, you would notice that Louisiana has 4% more registered voters than it did a decade ago. If we assume that the change in registered voters parallels the change in population in each parish, we project the following changes in terms of seats gained/lost:
– Orleans/Jefferson/St Bernard would lose 4 House seats and 1.5 Senate seats;
– The fast growing suburbs along I-10/12 (St Tammany, Tangipahoa, Livingston, Ascension, and St Charles) would gain 3 House seats and 1 Senate seat;
– East Baton Rouge and Lafayette Parishes would each get another 0.5 of a House seat and 0.25 of a Senate seat;
– North/Central Louisiana have historically lost seats because of reapportionment. This time around, they would likely not gain or lose any seats in the House or Senate.
Of course, what actually happens is dependent on the official Census count to be released soon, as well as the political alliances which will form during reapportionment.
We have attached a copy of the analysis here