Mississippi redistricting plan unveiled
By: Stephan Burklin
JACKSON, Mississippi: Mississippi’s Republican House members pushed through a redistricting plan Thursday that would imperil white Democratic lawmakers while increasing the number of black majority districts.
House members voted 70-49 in favor of the plan, with 63 Republicans and 7 Democrats supporting it.
“It’s fair and it complies with the law,” Reapportionment Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Denny (R) told the Associated Press. He said that districts are more tightly drawn and that fewer counties and precincts are split. He also said that the changes preserve black-majority districts and reflect population shifts since the last Census.
Republicans, who hold a House majority for the first time since Reconstruction, drew a map matching five pairs of representatives, pitting incumbents against each other in several districts.
The map also solidifies Republican districts in the GOP bastion of DeSoto County, which grew rapidly in the last decade. Currently, it has three whole districts and shares three seats with neighboring counties. Under the new plan, it would have six districts entirely within its borders and share only one seat.
If the plan passes in the Senate, it must be approved by the United States Justice Department because of Mississippi’s history of disenfranchising voters.