Legislative redistricting plans still not submitted

JACKSON — The plans to redraw state House and Senate districts to match population shifts found by the 2010 census still have not been submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice for approval.

The plans were approved by the House and Senate in late April and early May during the final days of the 2012 legislative session. Under federal law, they must be submitted to the Justice Department to ensure they do not dilute minority voting strength.

Of course, there is a possibility that legislators will have to run again this year in the newly drawn districts. Last year, after the Legislature was unable to agree on a redistricting plan, House and Senate elections were held under the old districts that violated the one-man, one-vote mandate of the state and federal constitutions.

At the time, a three-judge panel said it would decide at a later date whether to hold a second round of elections under

newly drawn districts.

Whether on purpose or not, by delaying the submission to the Justice Department, it is not leaving much time for a three-judge panel to order a new round of legislative elections for November.

No doubt, legislators do not want to run again this year. But officials say the delay in submitting the plans for federal approval is to gather all the information and facts for what is expected to a rigorous federal review.