Costly confusion

By Staff
March 31, 2002
State Rep. Eric Robinson's new legislative district runs from the tiny Nancy community in southern Clarke County, up through Chunky in Newton County, and into Collinsville and Martin in north Lauderdale County. His district lines come almost right to state Rep. Greg Snowden's front door in north Meridian.
Snowden's new district takes in a piece of Meridian and then runs from Marion and Bailey down through Sageville and Meehan in Lauderdale County, down through Enterprise, Stonewall and South Quitman in Clarke County.
What sense does this make? None. None at all. Snowden lives in Meridian, Robinson in Quitman.
The confusing new districts  and our area isn't alone in the gerrymandering  were crafted in secret, sprung on unsuspecting lawmakers and the public without public hearings, and force-fed to House members by dictatorial leadership. This is a ridiculous exercise in political power and these districts should be thrown out by the U.S. Department of Justice for that reason alone. Of course, that isn't likely to happen.
House Speaker Tim Ford and his chief lieutenants have proven themselves incapable of including the voting citizenry in this fundamental decision-making process. What do they fear?
The manner in which legislative redistricting was handled is the height of heavy-handed arrogance and a disappointing display of what should have been a public process.
Some members of the Mississippi Legislature may think they extracted a measure of personal revenge from the new district lines, but they are wrong. By taking this action the way it was taken, the only thing they have done is create more confusion among voters and more costly elections. We sincerely hope that was not their intention.

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