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Justice Department wants more information on proposed redistricting

NATCHEZ — The U.S. Department of Justice has requested additional information from the city of Natchez about its redistricting plan.

The request that could delay the upcoming Natchez Board of Aldermen elections, according to The Natchez Democrat.

Natchez City Attorney Everett Sanders said the department requested the information last Tuesday, which was the last of the 60 days the department has had to review the plan since it was submitted on Dec. 21.

The city’s redistricting consultant, Bill Rigby of Holland & Rigby, said last Friday almost all of the information the department has requested from the city was included in the city’s original submission.

The submitted redistricting plan was adopted by the Natchez Board of Aldermen Oct. 27 and maintains the three majority black wards and three majority white wards of the previous redistricting plan adopted in 2000. Redistricting is done every 10 years when the U.S. Census is completed.

In the letter, the department asked for information that includes a detailed description of any formal or informal guidance or instructions during the redistricting process given to Rigby by any city officials; any alternative plans submitted to the city and an explanation of how the city determined the adopted plan was better than the alternative plan; documents and communication among city officials, employees, Rigby or members of the public about the alternative and proposed plan; and details of the city’s efforts to secure the views of city residents regarding the redistricting plan.

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