Wilkinson’s supervisor districts approved by Justice Department

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 13, 2003

WOODVILLE &045; New supervisor district lines in Wilkinson County were precleared by the U.S. Justice Department Friday, according to Circuit Clerk Mon Cree Allen.

&uot;We received a fax from the Justice Department today. The board’s attorney went over it, and everything is in order,&uot; Allen said. The federal approval means the supervisor races can proceed as scheduled in the Aug. 5 primary elections.

Allen said ballots for the elections are now being printed, and absentee ballots will be available in his office at the Wilkinson County Courthouse in Woodville by the end of next week.

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&uot;We have had some requests for absentee ballots, and we want to give everybody an opportunity to vote.

We are working hard to make sure no voters are disenfranchised,&uot; Allen said. With the new district lines, some voters will now vote in different districts.

Allen said his office is working to notify those voters prior to the elections.

Redistricting is required following every census in counties where district populations deviate more than 10 percent from the county norm.

Although supervisors adopted the new lines last August, Wilkinson County’s redistricting plan was not delivered to the Justice Department for its mandatory review until June 2, just 64 days prior to the primary elections, leaving the county’s supervisor races in question.

In May, a consultant hired by the county to handle the plan told supervisors he had erroneously mailed Wilkinson County’s plan to the Justice Department with a plan for Tallahatchie County. But Justice Department officials said there was no record of the Wilkinson County’s plan being received with any another county’s plan. The consultant, Derrick L. Johnson, LLC, was paid $15,890 for his work as of May 5, according to an official in the Chancery Clerk’s Office.