By Jack Elliott Jr./The Associated Press
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.
Because of Mississippi’s history of racial discrimination, the Voting Rights Act requires the state to get federal approval for any election law changes.
State officials say the elections would be a waste.
“It has always been my position the Mississippi Legislature should be able to redistrict itself and not the Federal Courts. The Mississippi House and Senate adopted fair redistricting plans that even received approval by the Department of Justice,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “We believe the 2011 elections were constitutional, and our legislators should be able to serve their full four year terms. To hold legislative elections outside of the normal four year cycle would prove costly and unproductive for our State. Particularly in these lean budget times, I cannot be in favor of the additional expense.”