Minority wards to be created

Minority wards to be created


RIDGELAND — Two minority wards will be created and an additional polling place will be added in Ward 3 under a redistricting plan approved earlier this month.

Mayor Gene F. McGee said he thinks the city has approved a plan that is headed in the right direction.

“I think we did a good job drafting a redistricting plan that is fair and equitable but won't cause too much confusion,” McGee said.

Ward 4 and Ward 5 will become majority-minority wards. Ward 4 is represented by Alderman Brian Ramsey and Ward 5 is represented by Alderman Bill Lee.

A new polling place will be established in Ward 3 at Trace Ridge Baptist Church located at 238 Lake Harbour Drive in addition to the existing polling place in the Pat McGowan Workforce Training Center on the Holmes Community College Campus at 150 College Drive. Ward 3 is Alderman Kevin Holder’s ward.

A resolution was approved by aldermen during their meeting on Tuesday, March 19. It was the only item on the regular agenda and was swiftly accepted as part of a meeting lasting about five minutes.

“The City of Ridgeland, Mississippi has received information from the 2020 decennial census that shows population growth sufficient to require redistricting to comply with the one person one vote principles of the United States Constitution,” the resolution reads in part.

The resolution goes on to say, “Whereas the City of Ridgeland has taken into account traditional redistricting principles.” 

The map, known as “Concept 4”, was drafted by the city and is the result of a roughly a year-and-a-half-long process. The map was one of four at the focus of a public hearing held in January.

McGee said the Department of Justice sent a letter during the process saying they had been made aware of demographical changes in Ridgeland and suggested the city consider majority-minority districts in its redistricting plans. 

McGee said the city worked closely with the DOJ sharing maps and participating in several Zoom calls.

The process began with new and updated population data from the 2020 Census and preparation for the 2025 election cycle, said City Planner Jordan Lohman.

Lohman said ward lines are redrawn when new census data is available primarily to ensure a ratio of “one person – one vote” in city elections.

“The new census data demonstrated that ward boundaries must adjust in order to more equally distribute population throughout the city’s wards,” Lohman said. “One of the more important elements of any redistricting is to ensure equal voting strength of each person.”

Redistricting principles discussed by Watson include minimizing the degree of change or disruption, utilizing visible lines of demarcation, maintaining core constituency, avoiding dividing communities of interest, avoiding pitting incumbents against each other, compactness and contiguity as well as the previously stated goal of “One person – one vote.”

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions