Public hearing on city redistricting scheduled for November 22
Posted 1:21 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12, 2022
NATCHEZ – A public hearing has been set for Tuesday, November 22 to present a plan for redrawing the neighborhoods of the town of Natchez.
The question of redistricting arises every 10 years after each American 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% from the previous census. The population of Natchez determined by the 2020 census deviates by 14% from the last census, a redistricting is therefore necessary.
Tommie S. Cardin of the law firm Jackson Butler Snow, was hired by the city to lead its redistricting effort.
On Tuesday, Cardin presented a draft map and plan to the aldermen and asked them to fix 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 their population, Ward 4 is “almost perfect” and Ward 1 is “a bit low”.
In guiding the aldermen through the map project, Cardin spoke about the guidelines used to redraw the neighborhoods.
The US Census uses what are called census blocks to report population.
“A census block is a geographic area,” Cardin said. “We do our best to tap into entire census blocks if possible. Several things on the map were the result of not dividing census blocks.
Other guidelines include ensuring that any changes do not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; each neighborhood must be contiguous and as compact as possible; districts should respect natural geographic boundaries as much as possible; districts should keep incumbents in the wards they currently represent; and constituencies should preserve the geographic cores of existing constituencies to minimize voter confusion.
The city will advertise the public hearing by placing legal notices in The Natchez Democrat and the Bluff City Post.
The proposed map and fact sheets will be on the city’s website for the public to review prior to the November 22 public hearing and will be in the city clerk’s office at City Hall, available for review at from Wednesday 12 October.