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Mississippi Must Redraw Legislative Map With More Majority-Black Districts, Court Rules

The Mississippi Legislature must redraw the state’s state house and senate district maps to create more Black-majority districts after a federal court ruled on Tuesday that the maps do not offer Black voters equal participation in the political process.

The Mississippi Senate has 52 districts and the Mississippi House has 122 state house districts. But despite the fact that about 38% of Mississippi residents are Black, just 15 state Senate districts and 42 state House districts have Black majorities, or about 29% and 34%, respectively. The Legislature drew and adopted the current maps in 2022 after the 2020 Census.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi ruled the Legislature should have created at least two additional Black-majority districts in the Senate and one additional Black-majority district in the state House in the 2022 maps. Lacking Black-majority districts violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and shows the history of racial discrimination in the state, the court said in the decision.

Read the court’s ruling. ” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1.jpg?fit=207%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1.jpg?fit=706%2C1024&ssl=1″ tabindex=”0″ role=”button” src=”https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1.jpg?resize=706%2C1024&ssl=1″ alt=”MS NAACP v. SBEC Three Judge Panel Op” class=”wp-image-44434″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1.jpg?resize=706%2C1024&ssl=1 706w, https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1.jpg?resize=207%2C300&ssl=1 207w, https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1.jpg?resize=768%2C1114&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1.jpg?resize=400%2C580&ssl=1 400w, https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1.jpg?w=827&ssl=1 827w, https://i0.wp.com/www.mississippifreepress.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/MS-NAACP-v.-SBEC-Three-Judge-Panel-Op-1-706×1024.jpg?w=370&ssl=1 370w” sizes=”(max-width: 706px) 100vw, 706px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>Read the court’s ruling.

The court required the Legislature to create new majority-Black districts in the areas around DeSoto County and the City of Hattiesburg and a new majority-Black district in Chickasaw and Monroe counties. The case came before a three-judge panel that included District Judge Sul Ozerden, Chief District Judge Daniel Jordan III and Circuit Judge Leslie Southwick.

“The 2022 maps illegally prevented Black Mississippians from fully and fairly participating in our democracy in places like DeSoto County, Hattiesburg, and Chickasaw County. The court correctly found that the Voting Rights Act demands more,” senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project Ari Savitzky said in a Wednesday press release.

Dr. Lisa Handley gave expert-witness testimony in court. She found that “Black candidates were successful in the state legislative elections only in majority-minority districts” because 83.3% of Black voters support Black candidates while

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