Redistricting in Mississippi

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

Redistricting, also known as reapportionment, is the process of redrawing the political boundaries for state, county and municipal elections. New ward and district maps are redrawn after the 10-year census to align population shifts. New maps must reapportion the population growth or decline, as well as remain compact and adhere to the “One Person, One Vote” principle.

The briefing was hosted by Ethnic Media Services on Aug 12. Amir Badat, Attorney, NAACP Legal Defense Fund joined other redistricting rights advocates in a media briefing on how communities in Mississippi, birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and home to the largest percentage of African Americans in the country, are working to drive more representation upward from the grassroots level.

Mississippi has historically been almost a predictor of what happens in other parts of the country,” he said, pointing to the Mississippi Plan of the late 1800s, when white supremacists embarked on a campaign of “intimidation, violence, and a plan that used legal tactics to try to suppress the Black vote and Black civic participation during Reconstruction.” “We’re seeing the same things happening today,” Badat said. “We need to be paying attention to Mississippi,” added Badat.

Monica McKinnis of One Voice recalled how after the 2010 census an increase in the African American population in her own city of Clinton, outside Jackson, led to increased civic engagement as residents became more aware of the need to master their political environs. But that was before the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, she noted.