Judge denies supervisor’s request concerning redistricting

JACKSON — A federal judge has denied a request by Hinds County Supervisor Phil Fisher and the Republican Party to bar the county from using its new redistricting plan in November elections, which involves only the five local election commission members.

Still pending is the original lawsuit filed in September, which asks that the new voter district lines be thrown out for multiple reasons, including, Fisher said, the contention supervisors improperly used race as a consideration in redrawing districts.

Fisher is white. The board’s four black supervisors on Oct. 8 asked the court to dismiss his lawsuit, saying Fisher sued in his official capacity as a supervisor and “gerrymandering” lawsuits must be filed by an affected voter. Gerrymandering is drawing voting lines to give advantage to a certain group.

According to court records, U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves denied Fisher’s motion to stop the election and denied the other supervisors’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Reeves has not issued a written order.

Voting districts are adjusted every 10 years based on census data. Hinds County’s plan was adopted in February 2011.

Fisher’s lawsuit claims there was little shift in the population of Hinds County’s voting districts for supervisors and there was no need for major changes. But supervisors approved a plan that increased the black population of most districts and split the city of Clinton, which had previously been in one district, the lawsuit says.

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