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Joint Elections Committee Opposes Running Another Round of Elections

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 25 Oct 2012 04:58pm | comments
Elections committee chairmen listen to the advice of a redistricting attorney

Mississippi lawmakers are going to federal court to oppose a lawsuit the state NAACP filed over redistricting. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports lawmakers on the House and Senate elections committee believe last fall's legislative election is valid and should stand.

The Mississippi NAACP has filed a lawsuit with 3 components.

First the lawsuit seeks to block new state House and Senate districts.

It also asks federal judges draw new districts, and then order a new set of legislative elections.

Members of the house and senate elections committees voted yesterday to intervene in the case opposing the NAACP.

House elections committee chairman Bill Denny of Jackson says the new redistricting maps drawn by the legislature this year have been approved by the justice department and there is no need for another set elections.

"I think it would be ridiculous. We have a plan that has been approved by the Justice Department. This suit has to do with section 2 which I understand is a federal matter in the courts. It is quite obvious to me that when the justice department looks at a plan to clear it, they are cognizant of section 2 and section 5," Denny said.

Last fall lawmakers ran in districts drawn after the 2000 census....the NAACP claims these districts are unconstitutional because some districts had many more residents than others.

Senator Hillman Fraiser of Jackson, the only African-American committee member at the hearing, voted against intervening saying lawmakers should run again.

"Because I don't feel comfortable serving in mal-apportioned districts right now. The districts we ran under were mal-apportioned and it is very unfair to the rest of the state to serve for the remainder of this term to serve under mal-apportioned districts. So I am in favor at this point of running in new properly approved districts," Fraiser said.

While Fraiser supports a new set of elections, he believes the new redistricting maps should stand and not be redrawn by judges.

The new redistricting maps increase the number of majority minority districts in the senate from 13 to 15 and from 41 to 42 in the house.

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Elections committee chairmen listen to the advice of a redistricting attorney


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