JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Mississippi Senate on Wednesday passed a plan to redraw the state’s four congressional districts, sending it to Gov. Tate Reeves for his expected approval.
The NAACP or other opponents could still ask a federal court to consider whether the new districts dilute the influence of Black voters.
The 33-18 Senate vote was largely along party lines, with most Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed. Two Republicans voted no, and one did not vote.
The plan passed the House last week mostly along party lines, with Republicans and one independent in favor and Democrats and one independent opposed.
Political boundaries have to be updated every decade to reflect changes in population, with a goal of having an equal number of residents in each district.
The plan expands the territory of Mississippi’s only majority-Black U.S. House district because the 2020 census showed the 2nd District lost population during the previous decade.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson has held the 2nd District seat since wining a 1993 special election. The district stretches through the Delta and into the city of Jackson.
Thompson said he wanted to expand the district but still keep it relatively compact by taking in more of the densely populated Jackson metro area. That proposal is also favored by the state NAACP. Instead, the plan moves four sparsely populated southwestern counties into the 2nd District from the 3rd District.
White Republicans represent the 1st District in the north, the 3rd District in the central part of the state and the 4th District in the south.
Candidates face a March 1 qualifying deadline to run for the four seats.