Public hearing on city redistricting set for Nov. 22

Published 1:21 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2022

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NATCHEZ — A public hearing has been set for Tuesday, Nov. 22, to present a plan to redistrict the wards in the City of Natchez.

The question of redistricting arises every 10 years after each U.S. Census. Redistricting is necessary based on state law, which requires municipalities to draw new ward or district lines if the city’s population deviates more than 10 percent from the previous census. The population of Natchez determined by the 2020 census, deviates 14 percent from the last census, thus redistricting is necessary.

Tommie S. Cardin of the Jackson law firm Butler Snow, was hired by the city to lead its redistricting effort.

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On Tuesday, Cardin presented a draft map and plan to aldermen and asked them to set the public hearing to present the plan to the public.

He said Wards 2 and 5 need to gain population, Wards 3 and 6 need to reduce populations, Ward 4 is “almost perfect,” and Ward 1 is “a little low.”

In walking aldermen through the draft map, Cardin talked about guidelines used to redraw the wards.

The U.S. Census uses something called census blocks to report population.

“A census block is a geographic area,” Cardin said. “We try our best to draw on whole census blocks if at all possible. Several things on the map were the result of not splitting census blocks.”

Other guidelines include making certain no changes violates section 2 of the Voting Rights act; each district must be contiguous and as compact as possible; districts should follow natural geographic boundaries where possible; districts should keep incumbents in wards they currently represent; and the districts should preserve the geographic cores of the existing districts in an effort to minimize voter confusion.

The city will advertise the public hearing by putting legal notices in The Natchez Democrat and the Bluff City Post.

The proposed map and data sheets will be on the city’s website for the public to review prior to the Nov. 22 public hearing and will be in the city clerk’s office at City Hall, available for review beginning Wednesday, Oct. 12.