State of Mississippi

Mississippi Legislative Redistricting Challenge

Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP v. State Board of Election Commissioners

Lawsuit filed on behalf of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, four of its members and one Black voter against the State Board of Election Commissioners, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R), Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch (R), Mississippi Attorney General Michael Watson (R) and two Republican members of the Mississippi Legislature. The plaintiffs allege that Mississippi’s state Senate and House redistricting maps drawn with 2020 census data violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by unlawfully diluting “the voting strength of Black Mississippians and deny[ing] Black Mississippians a full and fair opportunity to participate equally to white Mississippians in the political process” and further allege that race was unconstitutionally used to achieve this dilution. The plaintiffs argue that the maps “unnecessarily ‘pack’ Black Mississippians together in some of those places, and also ‘crack’ areas with large, cohesive Black populations in some others—ultimately diminishing Black Mississippians’ true voting strength statewide and in the relevant districts.” The plaintiffs note that Mississippi’s population “is almost 38% Black—the highest percentage of any state in the nation—and sizable Black communities exist throughout the State.” Despite this, the plaintiffs argue that “Black Mississippians have been shut out of political power for most of the State’s history.” 

The plaintiffs also claim that Black voting strength is diluted in four areas as it pertains to the state Senate map and three areas as it pertains to the state House map in violation of Section 2 of the VRA. Further, the plaintiffs allege that race “was the predominant factor in the creation” of multiple state Senate and House districts without serving “any compelling state interest,” thereby creating an unconstitutional racial gerrymander in violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs request that the legislative maps be declared unconstitutional and in violation of the VRA, the defendants be prevented from holding future elections under the maps and the court orders the adoption of new maps that “do not abridge or dilute the ability of Black voters to elect candidates of choice or otherwise violate the U.S. Constitution.”

STATUS: A trial took place from Feb. 26 to March 8, 2024. Parties await a decision from the district court.

Case Documents

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