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Mississippi: Tupelo may drop 2 at-large seats to settle voting rights suit

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports: If plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city approve, Tupelo will keep its seven-ward system after the current term but will increase the minority voting-age population of two wards.

The plan was approved Tuesday by City Council leaders and submitted Thursday to the plaintiff's attorney as an alternative to the current ward system, which a judge had found unfair.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mills said the city's present system, which includes two at-large seats, violates the Voting Rights Act.

Plaintiffs' attorney, Ellis Turnage, said his initial reaction to the city's new plan is unfavorable but that he must consult with his expert before issuing an official opinion.

Under the new plan, the city's two at-large seats will be eliminated, and Wards 4 and 7 will gain black voters. -- Tupelo wards 4, 7 would get more minority voters

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