Federal judge strikes down Mississippi state senate district as violation of Voting Rights Act

On February 13, 2019, Judge Carlton W. Reeves, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, issued an order striking down the state legislative map for Mississippi State Senate District 22.
Judge Reeves ruled that the district constituted a violation of the Voting Rights Act by denying racial minorities “an equal opportunity to participate in the political processes and to elect candidates of their choice.” In the two-page order, Reeves advised the state legislature of its right to the first opportunity to draft new maps for District 22 and any adjoining districts that might be affected as part of the redistricting process. Reeves also suggested that the legislature might extend the March 1 qualification deadline for candidates in District 22 and any other affected districts. Reeves, appointed in 2010 by Pres. Barack Obama (2013), noted that a full opinion in the case, Thomas v. Bryant, would be forthcoming.
In 2015, Eugene Clarke (R) won re-election to District 22 with 53.8 percent of the vote.
The Mississippi State Senate is one of seven legislative chambers nationwide that will conduct elections in 2019. All 52 Senate seats will be up for election. The primary is scheduled to take place on August 6, 2019. The general election will take place on November 5, 2019.