DOJ wants more info on Hinds County redistricting - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

DOJ wants more info on Hinds County redistricting

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HINDS COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It's a no-go for redistricting in Hinds County. Not only did the U.S. Justice Department refuse to sign off on new redistricting maps, officials requested a huge volume of information that apparently was not provided by the consultant hired to do the job.

On May 31st, a letter goes to the board of supervisors attorney and Derrick Johnson, the consultant they hired to draw up new districting plans. DOJ informs the board the information submitted by Johnson is "insufficient." The three page letter requests a plethora of documents with regard to the 2011 redistricting process: maps, plans, demographic data, agendas, transcripts, proposed changes and any alternative redistricting plans that were discussed by the Hinds County supervisors.

Failure to get redistricting approved in time for the elections has one candidate rethinking his approach. "We made sure to spend time in areas I knew I would be running in whether the changes went through or not." Democratic candidate for justice court judge, Micah Dutro, is refocusing his campaign from district 5 under the new map to district 1.

Questions remain about the redistricting problem. What we know is the Hinds County Board of Supervisors hired their consultant without any public notice, paid him 40-grand, twice the going rate, and showed two different plans just prior to their vote. Then the elected officials adopted a plan no one had seen.

Board President George Smith said Tuesday he never dreamed the plan would not be approved and was not aware of a June 2 deadline that was missed.

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