Mississippi NAACP releases proposed redistricting map

Published 1:46 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

NATCHEZ — The Mississippi NAACP, in hopes of avoiding any potential litigation, unveiled its proposed map for redistricting Mississippi’s four congressional districts.

Earlier this year, information from the 2020 U.S. Census was used by Congress to determine Mississippi would maintain its four congressional districts. However, by federal law, those districts must be redrawn after each census to make certain each district contains equal population.

“Mississippi has approximately 2.9 million residents in the state. That means 740,320 should be the size of each district,” said Corey Wiggins, executive director of the Mississippi NAACP. “We are proposing a congressional map that meets the criteria of state and federal law and the constitution.”

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The proposed map also meets the criteria set aside by a court decision in 2011, which ruled at least one of Mississippi’s congressional districts must be majority Black. 

“Because of Mississippi’s history with discrimination, the court ruled one of Mississippi’s congressional districts must have a Black majority. That is the second congressional district. It has a majority of Black people,” said Carroll Rhoads, attorney for the Mississippi NAACP.

Warren and Jefferson, Claiborne, Copiah and Hinds counties are in the second congressional district.

Adams County along with neighbors Wilkinson, Franklin, Lincoln, Lawrence and Jeff Davis counties are in the third congressional district.

Most of the changes the NAACP map proposes are in the third congressional district.

“In the third congressional district, you include all of Oktibbeha and Winston County and all of Clark and Marion County,” Wiggins said. “All of Hinds County will stay in the second congressional district and a little bit more of Madison County will be in the second district.”

Rhoads used a baseball metaphor to describe the NAACP’s proposed map.

“This map rounds all the bases. It’s not just touching the legal bases, but landed square on the legal bases. It’s not just a home run, but a grand slam compared to redistricting maps that have been used,” he said.

“The NAACP has been involved in redistricting ever since 1965 after the voting rights bill was passed and this redistricting cycle we wanted to do something a little different,” Rhoads said. “The NAACP has been involved in litigation. We wanted to try to avoid litigation this redistricting cycle, so what we wanted to do was develop a map using the outlines the court has set and also following the criteria the joint legislative reapportionment committee has adopted.

“We are really trying to be on the forefront. Here is a map that meets all of the criteria, ensures that all Mississippians have a level of engagement and a voice in the process,” he said.