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NAACP head claims redistricting failed

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RUSTY WELLER
Ellis County Press
WAXAHACHIE - Contrary to commissioners court comments, Ellis County's redistricting lines will not enhance minority districts, according to the head of the area's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

NAACP Branch President Victor Burnett said he will send a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice officially objecting to the redistricting approved at the July 23 commissioners meeting after County Judge Al Cornelius claimed the new lines will enhance minority districts in Pcts. 1 and 3.

Redistricting consultant Craig Murphy echoed Cornelius, saying, 'The minority districts will be slightly stronger.'

'No,' stated Burnett, 'that's not true! They're deceiving the public by saying they've enhanced it for minorities, because they've actually decreased it.'

Murphy said 'some minor changes' were made in Waxahachie. But Burnett said while the minority vote was enhanced somewhat in Ennis, it was decreased in Waxahachie with the addition of the Shackleford addition, which has a record of voting strongly Republican.

'There are only four or five minority families in the whole Shackleford area,' said Burnett, who questioned the formula used in redrawing district lines.

'They have not shown the data where minority precincts pick up voters,' Burnett said. 'Chances still are slim or none for a minority candidate to win in either district they say has been enhanced.

'I want to know why commissioners (Hallie Joe) Robinson and (Jerry) Holland would vote for a plan they know isn't enhancing the minority vote.'

Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller and Pct. 4 Constable Perry 'Bubba' Curry both praised the redistricting plan during the meeting.

'All four judges and constables are in agreement that this is the best map for the county,' Miller wrote in a letter to commissioners.

'We tried to do what is best for the citizens,' Perry said.

The redistricting plan will be sent to the Department of Justice, with final approval expected within 60 days.

Murphy told the court the next step is to decide the boundaries of voter precincts as the county seeks to be the first in Texas to complete the redistricting process. The goal is to be ready for November's election.

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Nelson Propane

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