Mississippi
Congressional BoundariesDrawn by legislature
State BoundariesDrawn by legislature
Governor's PartyRepublican
Legislative PartyRepublican

Communities of Interest

Check out Communities of Interest collected in this state on Representable

Learn about Communities of Interest in this state

Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays

State Legislative

Alert:
Low

Congressional

Alert:
Low

Process

State Legislative Districts

Mississippi's state legislative lines are drawn by the Legislature by joint resolution without threat of gubernatorial veto. If the Legislature fails to adopt a state legislative map, the task falls to a partisan backup commission currently controlled by Republicans.

Congressional Districts

Mississippi's congressional lines are drawn by the Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Mississippi’s state constitution (Art. XIII § 254) requires that state legislative districts be contiguous. Mississippi statute (Code § 5-3-101) requires that districts also be compact, and avoid county splits. When the court drew the map in 2011, it provided an additional analysis of factors considered including communities of interest, specifically involving historical and regional interests along with universities and military bases. 

Public Input

In 2012, the Joint Legislative Committee on Reapportionment adopted a public access policy to open the redistricting process to the public. Any citizen can submit written comments and present proposed plans at public meetings or through written submissions.

In the last redistricting cycle, the committee held 11 public hearings between August and September 2010 and a set of hearings in February 2011; a similar public input process is likely in 2021.

2011 Cycle

Because of Mississippi’s off-year election cycle, the 2011 redistricting year coincided with gubernatorial and state legislative elections. This created an extremely tight schedule for redistricting; ultimately, after high partisan tensions, the state Legislature did not complete plans in time. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a trial court decision allowing old districts to be used in the 2011 elections. 

After the elections, the Legislature also failed to produce a constitutionally acceptable congressional map, so a federal court implemented a new map on December 30, 2011. In 2012, the Legislature pushed through a state legislative redistricting plan that was approved by the Justice Department, as then required under Section 5 preclearance, on September 14, 2012. 

Issues

Pitfalls

Following the election of another Republican Governor in 2019, Mississippi continues to have a government trifecta. In addition, the state Senate is now a Republican supermajority. Single-party control increases the risk of partisan and racial gerrymandering. Mississippi is at special risk of racial gerrymandering because of its substantial Black population.

Additionally, this will be Mississippi’s first cycle without the protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which was struck down in the 2013 Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder. In the absence of preclearance requirements to protect communities of color, observers should closely monitor every step of the redistricting process to ensure fair treatment for all.

Actions

In 2021, participate in the Legislature’s public input process.

  • Obtain Mississippi redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the Legislature starts collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Take advantage of Mississippi’s ballot initiative process to establish an independent redistricting process for future redistricting cycles, as states like California and Michigan have done. 

Contacts

Common Cause Mississippi

League of Women Voters of Missippi

Southern Echo

Sources

All About Redistricting

NCSL

Ballotpedia