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County Redistricting Cases

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Synopsis

County Redistricting Cases refers to several lawsuits challenging redistricting plans of counties across the United States for the discriminatory effect they have on Black people.

Description

The county redistricting cases include several lawsuits filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) challenging redistricting plans of counties across the United States for the discriminatory effect they have on Black people.

Love v. McGowan is a federal lawsuit that challenged 11 Mississippi counties for failing to provide proper redistricting plans for board of supervisors elections. Settlement negotiations achieved nondiscriminatory redistricting plans, and by early 1986 special elections under the new plans had been held in seven counties. These plans were also used for regularly scheduled supervisors elections in 1987. Elections were held in the spring of 1991 and Black candidate was elected, bringing the total number of Black supervisors to two.

In Tally v. Neshoba County, the Black community of Neshoba County filed a federal class action suit challenging the county’s racially discriminatory redistricting scheme, which divided it among three of the five election districts. As in most redistricting cases which fell at the end of the decade, the redistricting plan was postponed until the outdated 1980 count could be replaced by 1990 population data.

In McCray v. Mississippi State Board of Election Commissioners, CCR filed a federal lawsuit in July 1984 on behalf of citizens. It contested the three multi-member election districts into which Mississippi was divided for the purposes of electing Supreme Court justices, public service commissioners, and highway commissioners. The districts were established in 1892 and maintained despite shifts in population, effectively minimizing the voting strength of Mississippi’s Black population. As a result of the lawsuit, the state legislature reapportioned the election districts.