NAACP sues Mississippi over legislative redistricting plan

Dec 20, 2022, 12:30 AM | Updated: 3:58 pm
FILE - Mississippi state Sens. Rod Hickman, D-Macon, left, Michael McLendon, R-Hernando, second fro...

FILE - Mississippi state Sens. Rod Hickman, D-Macon, left, Michael McLendon, R-Hernando, second from left, Albert Butler, D-Port Gibson, and David Jordan, D-Greenwood, review an alternate Senate redistricting map during debate on the floor of the Senate at the Mississippi state Capitol in Jackson, Miss., March 29, 2022. The Mississippi NAACP filed a lawsuit Tuesday, Dec. 20, challenging the state House and Senate redistricting plans adopted by lawmakers in 2022 for use beginning in 2023 elections. The suit states that the plans dilute Black voting strength. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is perpetuating a legacy of racial discrimination because lawmakers failed to draw enough majority-Black districts for the state House and Senate, civil rights advocates say in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The Mississippi NAACP and five Black residents of Mississippi filed the suit in federal court in Jackson, challenging districts that are scheduled to be used in the 2023 election. The suit comes six weeks before candidates’ qualifying deadline of Feb. 1.

The suit says redistricting plans for the 122-member House and the 52-member Senate will dilute the voting power of Black people in a state with the largest percentage of Black residents.

“Mississippi’s newest maps are a continuation of the state’s long history of disenfranchising Black voters,” Janette McCarthy Wallace, general counsel for the NAACP, said in a news release. “Black voices were not heard in the redistricting process and these districts, which break up Black communities and limit their electoral voice, are the result. If our elections are to be just, equitable and fair, it is imperative that all Mississippians have a fair opportunity to elect candidates that reflect their communities and are responsive to their needs.”

Political districts are redrawn after each census to account for population changes during the previous decade. Mississippi’s Republican-led House and Senate unveiled redistricting plans in late March and approved them days later, at the end of the legislative session.

Senate President Pro Tempore Dean Kirby, a Republican from Pearl, led the Senate redistricting effort and is a defendant in the lawsuit. Kirby told The Associated Press on Tuesday that maintaining majority-Black districts was challenging because the Delta lost 65,000 residents.

“I can’t imagine a more fair redistricting resolution than the one that we passed,” Kirby said. He said the Black lawmakers he talked to about the plan “were very, very pleased” with it.

Historical voting patterns in Mississippi show districts with higher populations of white residents tend to lean toward Republicans and districts with higher populations of Black residents tend to lean toward Democrats.

Mississippi’s population is about 59% white and 38% Black, according to the Census Bureau.

In the redistricting plan adopted this year, 15 of the 52 Senate districts and 42 of the 122 House districts are majority-Black. Those make up 29% of the Senate districts and 34% of the House districts.

The lawsuit says legislators could have drawn at least four more majority-Black districts in the Senate and at least three more in the House.

The other defendants in the lawsuit are Republican Rep. Dan Eubanks of Walls, who helped lead redistricting efforts in the House; and the three members of the state Board of Election Commissioners, all Republicans — Gov. Tate Reeves, Attorney General Lynn Fitch and Secretary of State Michael Watson.

Because legislative redistricting is done through a resolution rather than a bill, the governor did not have the power to sign or veto the plans.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer reac...
Associated Press

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in ‘Goonies’ fish incident

A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985 film, "The Goonies."
24 hours ago
FILE - An Amazon company logo on the company's building in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany, March ...
Associated Press

Amazon violated labor law with delivery app

A Spanish court has ruled that Amazon broke labor laws by forcing more than 2,000 delivery drivers to use an app that the company controlled for scheduling work and payments and requiring them to use their own cars and cellphones on the job.
24 hours ago
Harry Styles attends the premiere of "My Policeman" at the Princess of Wales Theatre during the Tor...
Associated Press

Grammys could make history with Beyoncé, Bad Bunny wins

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Will Beyoncé emerge from the Grammy Awards as its most decorated artist ever? That’s one of the main storylines heading into Sunday’s ceremony, where the superstar is the leading nominee and needs four wins to make history. Several of music’s biggest names, including Beyoncé, are in the running for the night’s […]
24 hours ago
This combination of photos shows top nominees for the Gramy Awards, from left, Adele, Beyonce and H...
Associated Press

Grammys 2023 live updates: Latest news from red carpet, show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Follow along for real-time, on-the-carpet and behind-the-scenes updates on the 2023 Grammy Awards from The Associated Press. Live updates — any times Pacific — are brought to you by AP journalists at the show in Los Angeles and around the country. ___ INTRO TRACK The 2023 Grammy Awards show is upon […]
24 hours ago
Bridgit Smith, executive director of the Insight Women's Center stands outside the door to its educ...
Associated Press

US states take control of abortion debate with funding focus

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Though the Insight Women’s Center sits at the epicenter of a reinvigorated battle in the nation’s culture wars, the only hint of its faith-based mission to dissuade people from getting abortions is the jazzy, piano rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” playing in a waiting room. The Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature is considering […]
24 hours ago
This photo provided by Jason Sellers shows U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft shooting down a suspecte...
Associated Press

Chinese balloon’s downing creates spectacle over tourism hub

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — The downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon just off South Carolina’s coast created a spectacle over one of the state’s tourism hubs and drew crowds reacting with a mixture of bewildered gazing, distress and cheering. The balloon was struck by a missile from an F-22 fighter just off Myrtle […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
NAACP sues Mississippi over legislative redistricting plan