Hinds supervisors vote to proceed with Mar. 12 elections despite looming precinct crisis

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Pictured are (l-r): Wanda Evers, Dist. 4; Robert Graham, President, District 1; and Deborah Butler Dixon, Dist. 3 at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, Mar. 4. (Photo: Earnest McBride)

Editor’s Note: At Tuesday’s meeting at Black’s Chapel, it was announced that for the March 12 Presidential Primary, Voter Precinct 59 has been switched to Black’s Chapel M.B. Church, 3425 Robinson St., in Jackson. Additional precinct changes: Precincts 1 and 2 in Raymond are now at Belmont M. B. Church on MS 18; and the 3rd Precinct in Byram has been changed to Lakeshore Church at 6880 Siwell Road.

Despite a potentially major public conflict over the redistricting of voter precinct lines, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors voted Monday (March 4) to give the go-ahead on the March 12 primary elections after gaining reassurances that enough ballots and poll workers will be in place to accommodate all voters.

Nine Hinds county voting precincts ran out of ballots in the Nov. 7,  2023, gubernatorial elections. The ballot shortage in primarily Black precincts in Jackson last year sowed chaos and confusion and brought on a Congressional investigation.

Nevertheless, a potential crisis over the reworking of precinct lines in supervisor districts 3 and 4 lurks in the shadows of the current election and may force its way into the public arena at the April 1 board of supervisors meeting, one of the parties to the dispute has predicted.

District 3 Supervisor Deborah Butler Dixon claims that the former occupant of the district seat, Credell Calhoun, when drawing up the redistricting map, had sabotaged her district lines and had assigned large swathes of her own neighborhood to district 4, rather than leaving them in the 3rd district.


Butler defeated Calhoun in the 2023 elections and began serving her term as supervisor in January 2024. 

“He cut me out of most of my district, and most of the voters where I live are now in the 4th district. I’ve got one precinct, or partial precinct.”

Before she took office, she says, the redistricting committee cut most of her district into a patchwork plot that has essentially left her out of her own district.

“I’ll tell you what Credell did for me,” Dixon said. “Talk about redistricting, they cut me out of everything. Merging. Cutting my district. How do you think the senior citizens and the elder people feel when they can’t represent me (or be represented by me) over in that area, and in trying to get to the polls? Ain’t nobody said nothing about that.. My auntie n’em live in Bolton.  They got to go way up to Bolton and cross over to 18. You ain’t heard nothing about that from Bolton – Chapel Hill Road, Lyons Road. They got to go from way up in Bolton, over there on 18 to vote. 

“They cut back everywhere I live,” she continued. “I don’t have but one precinct, Timberlawn. All the neighborhoods where my children grew up – Timberlawn, Southwest,  and Forest Hill – all of that is in 4 now.” 


Some Hinds County Democratic party officials, however, have charged that Dixon is proposing to either close or merge at least eight, and perhaps as many as 10,  voting precincts that would do irreparable harm to Black Democratic voters in Districts 3 and 4 while leaving the mostly white Republican precincts untouched.

Jacqueline Amos, Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee chair, says the current move to close or merge a large group of predominantly Black voting precincts is nothing new for Hinds County. 

“This is something that has been brought to the table and tried on many occasions for several years by the Republican Party,” Amos said in a recent telephone interview. “Not by the Democrats, but by the Republican Party. And my stance has always been the same: Why are you so interested in closing and merging precincts in the Black community and not one time has there ever been a conversation regarding merging precincts east of 55, where there are several precincts on the same street – Old Canton Road and… and some of the precincts there are back to back.  

In addition to her position as Hinds County’s chief Democratic executive, Amos is also chair of the state Democratic Chairs (i.e., of all the other 81 county chairs) and is also National Democratic Committeewoman from Mississippi.

Amos called for a meeting between the board of supervisors, especially with Deborah Dixon of District 3, the NAACP, One Voice of Jackson, and “any other entity that has teeth in this game,” Amos said.

“We should all sit down at a table, lay out a map, look at our neighborhoods, look at the voting precincts, and come up with a plan,” she said. “If spending money is a problem with the county, that is not a problem I want to ignore, but at the same time, it’s not an excuse to disenfranchise voters. So disenfranchising voters is what is eating at me, eating at us. So, we want to do everything we can to avoid that.”


Butler Dixon said Monday that she is not going to allow herself to be distracted by engaging in a fight over the issue. She will not, she said, commit to sitting down at the kind of meeting Amos has called for. She instead called a community meeting of her own Tuesday evening (March 5) for voters of District 3 on a variety of different issues. 

Butler served two terms in the state house of representatives from District 63 in Jackson. 

“I’m not about to do anything,  because they’ve been at those tricks for a long time. I don’t get in that stuff,” she said. 

Dixon complains that at her first meeting with the committee that was planning the redistricting of the district based on the 2020 Census and recent population changes, she was in total disagreement with the way the meeting was conducted.

“When we came for that public hearing down here,” she said,  “they had two maps, four maps, and they had an additional map. So, I don’t represent where I live. They’ve put it all in 4, all in Wanda’s (Evers’) area. Everything is in 4, not in 3. It’s in 4. 

“My neighborhood, most of it is in 4. I don’t even represent where I live.  They want to talk about doing something wrong. My area is in four. I have one precinct. The rest of them are in four.  My neighborhood is cut. None of the people that my children went to school with are in my district anymore. 

“We’re not talking about precincts. I’m talking about over there where I live off Siwell Road. The rest is irrelevant.

Disfranchising Black VOTERS

State Representative Zakiya Summers (District 68, Jackson) has expressed a great deal of concern about the lax enforcement of the Voting Rights Act in  Hinds County. Summers is the secretary of the Legislative Black Caucus and is public information officer for the House Democratic Caucus. 

Summers said Dixon had indicated that she would rescind her proposal to merge the eight precincts that had come up for discussion at a board meeting. 

“When I first heard that she was considering doing this, I think this was back in January,” Summers said. “I asked her, let’s have a conversation. I understand the need for efficient election management. And I understand the need to perhaps save costs where you can. I’m a former election commissioner. So, I get all of that. But what I advised her, was ‘let’s have a conversation. Let’s analyze where we are. Let’s use this year to put a plan together, as well as a campaign that will inform the constituents about what’s going on, and then we seek feedback and input from them. You know we have the presidential election this year. We’re going to be doing precincts and caucuses, etc.’” 

Summers said she was disappointed in February when Dixon made the motion to recognize Republican Party operative Pete Perry, who had a list of mostly Black precincts that he recommended merging into one precinct. 

“When she recognized him (Pete Perry) to make the motion, and the board went along with it, that was just extremely egregious to me,” Summers said. “Pete Perry is the former chairman of the Hinds County Republican Executive Committee.

“All of the precincts that are in the west Jackson part of the district are in my neighborhood,” Summers said. “I also happen to live on the same street as the Calhouns (Credell and his wife, Peggy). I believe it’s a personal attempt to try to get back or to have some kind of attack on the Calhouns, and even me because I’m associated with the Calhouns. They are my mentors. But the pettiness of it is going to be….to have tremendous impact on constituents who voted for her.”

The opposing forces are planning a series of meetings and actions before the April 1 board of supervisors meeting with the objective of either rescinding the motion to merge the precincts or allowing a fairer redistricting of the patently unfair precinct lines as they currently exist. 

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Hinds supervisors vote to proceed with Mar. 12 elections despite looming precinct crisis

By Earnest McBride
March 11, 2024