Voting precinct changes to come in 2021

Published 12:05 am Saturday, December 28, 2019

LAPLACE — Changes are being made to the voting precincts in St. John the Baptist Parish, but the new prospective precincts will not go into effect until redistricting is complete in 2021.

During the Dec. 23 St. John Parish Council meeting, Council members approved an ordinance to create prospective precincts by the split and/or merger of precinct geography.

In some cases, the boundaries between precincts are shifting to a physical boundary such as a highway or a canal, according to Josh Manning of South Central Planning & Development. In other cases, precincts are being merged to ensure no individual precinct has less than 300 voters.

For example, Precinct 7-5 had 1,187 registered voters as of Dec. 1, while Precinct 4-8 only had 138 registered voters as of Dec. 1.

The new prospective precinct plan will be provided to the Census Bureau for tabulation purposes and used by the St. John Parish Council during the 2021 redistricting process, according to Parish President Natalie Robottom.

Manning said the prospective precinct plan is a statewide process that has been completed in Lafourche, Terrebone, St. James, St. Charles and other nearby parishes. While there were some issues with boundaries in St. John Parish’s existing precincts, Manning said the issues were not as widespread as those seen in other parishes.

“The only issues here right now is that you have some lines drawn on nonvisible features, and you have some precincts that have fewer than 300 voters,” he said. “Those are a no-no with the state, and that’s what we are trying to eliminate.”

Parish President-Elect Jaclyn Hotard asked what the purpose of the prospective precinct plan would be, considering it would have no impact on voting locations in a hypothetical 2020 election.

“If the real change is going to come in 2021, then why do we need to do this now if it seems like it’s not going to have any effect?” Hotard asked.

Manning explained that it needed to be adopted before a statewide precinct freeze comes into effect on Jan. 1. If the Council waited too long to approve the plan, it could spell trouble when the state congressional district lines are drawn.

“That happened to us 10 years ago when there were precincts we intended to merge when we did the redistricting plan but we could not because of where the state drew their boundary lines,” Manning said. “This is the only window to do those merges to prevent that from happening at that time.”

Manning reiterated that ordinance does not change anyone’s council district or legislative district. That takes place in 2021, after the census releases the population figures.

“That goes through a very long and detailed process in which the council is very involved,” Manning said. “There are multiple public hearings that take place as part of that process.”


Pat Gordon, Planning Director for South Central Planning & Development, outlined the following precinct changes during the Dec. 10 Parish Council meeting:

The boundary between Precincts 1-2 and 1-3 will be moved to Highway 640 to avoid using nonvisible features. Precinct 1-4 will merge with precincts 1-8 and 1-9. Meanwhile, Precinct 1-5 will merge with 1-6, and its boundary with Precinct 3-2 will be moved to W. Fifth Street.

The boundary between precincts 2-2 and 2-3 will move east to Marathon Avenue, and 2-3 will merge with 2-5.

The boundary between precincts 3-1 and 3-4 will be moved back to E. 12th Street. The boundary between precincts 3-2 and 3-4 will move to the Kansas City Southern Railroad.

Precinct 4-1 will merge with 1-7 and 4-11, and its boundary with Precinct 5-8 will be pushed west. Precinct 4-14 will have two boundary changes, now extending to Ridgefield Canal on its boundary with Precinct 7-3, and to Vicknair Canal on its boundary with Precinct 6-3.

Precinct 5-1 will merge with a portion of 5-3. It will be split at U.S. 61, with the Southern portion to merge with Precinct 5-8.

Precinct 5-4 will be merged with the remainder of 5-3, split at U.S. 51. Meanwhile, Precinct 6-1 will merge with 6-5, and its boundary will shift west to Vicknair Canal. In Precincts 6-3 and 6-4, changes must be made to correct discrepancies between the map and written descriptions of the boundaries.

Precinct 7-2 will merge with 4-12, and its boundary with 7-3 will move to St. Andrews Boulevard. Precinct 7-7’s boundary with 4-14 will also move to St. Andrews.

Lastly, Precinct 7-5 will merge with 4-6 and 4-10 to ensure there are more than 300 voters in the precinct.

Detailed maps of precincts are available to download at For more information about precincts, call the St. John Registrar of Voters at 985-652-9797.

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