The Board of Supervisors is working with the Northeast Mississippi Planning and Development District (NMPDD) to create the new district boundaries. Supervisors had a workshop with NMPDD Thursday morning to discuss the latest proposals.
Redistricting is required based on results of the 2010 census, in which Districts 2 and 4 had the biggest population changes. District 2 had a substantial population loss and needs to pick up new territory, while District 4 gained population.
“The high district and the low district do not touch each other,” said Sharon Gardner, executive director for NMPDD. “Unfortunately, it’s going to have some domino effect on each district.”
Caught in the middle is District 3 Supervisor Tim Mitchell, whose district stands to pick up additional road mileage that he will have to maintain. The current proposals have him losing territory in the city of Corinth, where he does not maintain the roads, and picking up more in the county. He and District 4 Supervisor Gary Ross discussed swapping some roads in the Danville area in Thursday’s meeting.
Mitchell said it looks like his district will gain about 15 miles of roads, which concerns him because his district already has more miles of roadway to maintain than the others.
The territory District 3 would lose in Corinth would shift to District 2. That would change the East Third Street voting precinct from District 3 to District 2, putting it back where it was before the redistricting that took place 10 years ago, noted Circuit Clerk Joe Caldwell.
The 2010 census results by district: District 1 - 7,549; District 2 - 6,398; District 3 - 7,603; District 4 - 8,245; District 5 - 7,262. NMPDD has determined the ideal district population is now 7,411, and each district needs to be within 5 percent above or below that number.
“If you have someone who challenges an election and you are not within this, then the Department of Justice can sanction or make you have another election,” said Gardner.
The county will also check into whether it has to get pre-clearance through the U.S. Department of Justice in light of this week’s Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act.
“We need to know where we are in the process,” said Attorney Bill Davis. “If the board approves a new plan, then do we instantly redraw the lines and not worry about the Department of Justice, which is where I think we are.”