Could Mississippi redraw its legislative districts?

Published: Jun. 16, 2023 at 10:34 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State lawmakers in Alabama now have to go back to the drawing board and redraw congressional district lines.

This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the maps violate the Voting Rights Act.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court found a violation with the map accounting for one majority Black seat out of seven districts in a state where more than one in four residents are Black.

Now, the ACLU of Mississippi said it’s hoping for a similar ruling in Mississippi.

“I think it’s a good thing for the state of Mississippi that the supreme court kept the Voting Rights Act in place where it can protect black communities from being broken in a way that diminishes their voting strength,” said Jarvis Dortch, executive director for the ACLU of Mississippi.

Dortch admits, he was surprised by the ruling, but he’s also encouraged, hoping the same outcome can happen in their cases.

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s legislative district maps, and its three supreme court districts.

”Yeah, it’s gerrymandering,” said Dortch. “You have members that are looking at the map trying to figure out where are the voters that they want, and how can we get as many of those voters in our district as possible. That’s bad for the entire state because you end up with lawmakers who are only concerned about a primary, who aren’t worried about the real problems in this state, because they know they can get re-elected and even ignore those problems.”

By doing this, Dortch said it reduces the voting power and influence of African Americans across the state, who make up roughly 38 percent of the state.

In the lawsuit challenging the state’s legislative districts, it states that the African American population could support at least four more Senate districts and three more House districts.

Dortch believes the maps should be redrawn, which would create more minority and more competitive districts in the state.

”If you look at the maps themselves, you can see how the state went about packing black voters in certain areas into one district or splitting black communities up,” said Dortch. “We think that is very clear. After the Supreme Court decision, we’re very hopeful we’ll get a fair decision and get fair maps here in Mississippi.”

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