Panolian Editorial

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Changes to district lines often favor incumbent officials

Political battles are usually won at the election booths. Political wars are won during the redistricting process.

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Federal, state, county and municipal governments as well as school and court districts will soon be charged with updating boundary lines to better represent the population count or census, recently conducted.

Each governmental entity with elected representatives may well have to move district lines to equalize population in those districts per the one man one vote rule spelled out following the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

This once every 10 year process will affect U.S. Legislative districts, Mississippi House and Senate Districts, county supervisor districts and school trustee districts.

For the most part, incumbent office holders have the upper hand when district lines are redrawn. The U.S. Government is tasked with redrawing U.S. House of Representative lines while state government will draw state legislative and Senate lines as well as lines pertaining to court districts.

Local lines will be drawn by local government or those planners hired by local government and that’s where the advantage comes in. Incumbency, population and approval by the U.S. Department of Justice are also factors in redistricting.

Our U.S. Representative district, supervisor districts, school board districts, judgeship boundaries, state legislative boundaries and more may likely be changed during this process.

Citizens will have an opportunity during the process to voice opinions through public hearings for input into the redistricting process.

Trustee boards, supervisors and representatives could do citizens a favor by working together closely  to ensure reasonable districts drawn in  a pattern that doesn’t place physical burdens on those who vote or financial burdens on those who pay for them, the citizens.

Don’t wait until it’s too, late.