Joint committee presents plan to redesign Mississippi congressional districts | national news
(The Center Square) – Against the backdrop of statewide population loss, a Mississippi panel supported a 10-year congressional district map proposal. The latest iteration of the map could be picked up when the legislature meets at the start of the new year.
A majority of the 20 state House and Senate members on the Congressional Joint Redistribution Committee voted in favor of the plan at a meeting on December 15. It almost evenly distributes the population among the four congressional districts of the state.
State Representative Jim Beckett, R-Bruce, is the chairman of the group overseeing the redistribution, which follows U.S. census figures once a decade. He described the map proposal as the culmination of “a lot of work”.
A number of data is entered into the map plan, State Representative Jason White, R-West said. White described the rationale for the congressional map plan, which was colloquially referred to as the “Magnolia Proposal,” at the committee meeting.
“I submit to you that this is a good congressional plan for the citizens of the state of Mississippi,” White said.
The population of the state of Mississippi is over 2.96 million people. The final 2020 U.S. Census figures show a drop of 6,018 people, which had a bigger impact on some areas of the state than others.
The map proposed by Congress has nearly identical population counts, said White, which is one of several stipulations included in the federal voting rights law.
Congressional Districts 1 and 2 have 743,019 registered voters each, while Districts 3 and 4 have 743,020 and 743,021 registered voters, respectively.
Scrolling through like-for-like data between 2010 and 2020, White said Congress Districts 1, 3 and 4 have all seen population gains in their current iterations, with fluctuations ranging from 1.24% to 4. 82%.
Congress District 2, meanwhile, experienced what White described as a “significant population loss” in its current configuration – at 9.08%.
District 2, which encompasses the highest concentration of black population in Mississippi, was the focal point of the committee’s discussion. The plan presented by White proposes to operate District 2 across the western edge of the state.
If the map is adopted as presented, District 2 would have a black population of 62.27%, compared to 61.36% on the map drawn ten years ago.
“Over the past 10 years, and certainly on the basis of history and political performance … (this) has been enough to give minority citizens the opportunity to elect whatever candidate they want for Congress in District 2 “White said.
Other considerations went into the process of redrawing the Congress map, including geography and adjacency, White said.
Most of the district lines proposed by Congress run along the county lines, although there are several exceptions, White said. The number of districts divided into counties reflects the existing map of ten years ago.
Other considerations in the process included keeping universities and military sites in separate districts.