Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Some Mississippi legislative districts dilute Black voting power and must be redrawn, judges say

By 37ci3 Jul4,2024

Three federal judges are ordering some Mississippi legislative districts to be redrawn, saying the current ones dilute the power of Black voters in three parts of the state.

The judges made their decision on Tuesday evening A lawsuit filed in 2022 by the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP and several Black residents.

“This is an important victory for Black Mississippians to have an equal and fair opportunity to participate in the political process without having their voices diluted,” Jennifer Nwachukwu, a member of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement Wednesday. “This decision affirms that the voices of Black Mississippians matter and must be reflected in the state Legislature.”

The population of Mississippi about 59% white and 38% black.

In the legislative redistricting plan passed in 2022, 15 of the 52 Senate districts and 42 out of 122 Ev districts most are Black. They make up 29% of Senate districts and 34% of House districts.

The judges ordered lawmakers to draw majority-Black Senate districts in and around DeSoto County in the northwest corner of the state and in and around Hattiesburg to the south, and new majority-Black House districts in Chickasaw and Northeast Monroe counties. State.

The ordinance does not create additional districts. Rather, it would require lawmakers to adjust the boundaries of existing districts. This means that many regions may be affected.

The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the judges’ decision Wednesday, spokeswoman MaryaAsa Lee said. It was not immediately clear whether the state would appeal.

Legislative and congressional districts are updated after each census to reflect population changes from the previous decade. Mississippi’s new legislative districts were used in 2023 when all state House and Senate seats were on the ballot.

Tommie Cardin, a lawyer for state officials, told federal judges in February that Mississippi could not ignore its history of racial division, but that voter behavior was now driven by party affiliation, not race.

“The days of voter suppression and intimidation are thankfully over,” Cardin said.

Historical voting patterns in Mississippi show that predominately white districts tend to lean Republican, while predominately black districts tend to lean Democratic.

In several states, lawsuits have challenged the composition of congressional or state legislative districts drawn after the 2020 census.

Louisiana lawmakers redrawn the state’s six U.S. House districts in January to create two majority-Black districtsnot one, after a federal judge ruled that the state’s previous plan reduced the voting power of Black residents, who make up about a third of the state’s population.

In early February, a federal judge ruled that Louisiana lawmakers had diluted the Black voting power with state House and Senate districts they were redrawing in 2022.

A federal judge accepted in December Georgia’s new congressional and legislative districts which preserves the partisan advantages of Republicans. The judge said the creation of new majority-Black districts solved the problem of illegal minority voting, prompting him to order the redrawing of the maps.

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By 37ci3

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