NAACP asks judge to order elections for Legislature in 2013

by Associated Press

Published: October 15,2012

Tags: appeal, district, election, government, judge, justice, lawmaker, legislative, Politics, poll, vote, voter, Voting

JACKSON — The NAACP has asked a federal court to order elections for the Mississippi Legislature in 2013.

In documents filed with a three-judge panel, the NAACP argues new district lines approved in September by the Justice Department merit new state House and Senate elections.

The 122 House districts and 52 Senate districts were redrawn by the Legislature this past spring to reflect population shifts after the 2010 Census.

Lawmakers elected in 2011 under the previous boundaries would hold those seats until 2015. The NAACP contended and some state officials agreed that the districts used in 2011 did not reflect shifts shown in the 2010 Census.

The NAACP also wants the U.S. District Court to discard the boundary plans approved by the Legislature and Justice Department and draw new district lines for the proposed 2013 elections.

“Although the 2012 legislatively enacted Senate and House plans comply with the one-person, one-vote principle of the 14 Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the 2012 Senate plan dilutes black voting strength and the House plan does as well,” the NAACP argues.

“Consequently, both plans result in discrimination against African-American voters,” according to the lawsuit.

Because of Mississippi’s history of racial discrimination, the Voting Rights Act requires the state to get federal approval for any election law changes.

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