County plans new voting lines
by Paisley Boston
Feb 07, 2014 | 2086 views | 0 0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A decrease in county population has caused the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors to revamp voting districts for justice court judges and constable lines.

According to the 2010 Census report, the county's population has decreased by almost 1,000, causing the voting districts to be reduced from three to two.

"The county has to adopt a resolution stating the adopted plan then it has to published it in the newspaper for three to four weeks. After being advertised, I would then send copies of the maps and the plans down to the Secretary of State's Office for their records," said Attorney Ellis Turnage.

"We are getting this in place for the elections next year. These laws have been outlined by the state," he added.

According to Mississippi Code 9-11-2, there shall be a competent number of justice court judges and constables in each county of the state.

The number of justice court judges and constables for each county shall be determined in counties with a population, according to the latest federal decennial census, of 35,000 and less, there shall be two justice court judges. 

In counties with a population, according to the latest federal decennial census, of more than 35,000 and less than 70,000, there shall be three justice court judges. 

This is the first time that the county has adopted a new plan since 1984.

"Members of the board have asked me to come up with a redistricting plan that will divide the population into two equal districts that have equal population," said Turnage.

According to Turnage, the redistricting would also allow justice court judges and constables t to run in districts that they desire.

"Individuals who desire to run for justice court judge and constable can choose which district they desire to run in. The law says that all you have to do is be a resident of the county and you can run in either of the two districts," he said.

According to Turnage, there was a case in Lowndes County that resulted in the reconstructing in the Mississippi Constitution concerning the issue of districting and residence.

In the Mississippi Supreme Court Case Monique Brooks Montgomery versus The Lowndes County Democratic Executive Committee and Leon Hines, Montgomery desired to qualify as candidate for the position of justice court judge in district three of Lowndes County but she did not reside in the district.

Montgomery was a resident of that county but admitted that she was not a resident within district 3.

The Lowndes County Democratic Executive Committee, through its Chairman Leon Hines, refused to qualify her, citing her lack of residence within the subdistrict of the county.

Montgomery petitioned the Lowndes County Circuit Court for a review of that decision.

The trial court declined to overturn the decision of the Executive Committee, but noted that the issue was subject to other interpretations. Montgomery filed a bill of exceptions with this Court pursuant to Mississippi Code 23-15-961.

"The Mississippi constitution says that in order to be a justice court judge or a constable they must be a resident of the county and not of a specific district," said Turnage.

Turnage said that the plan has not yet been finalized and before it is finalized it must go through a certification process.