An Attorney General’s opinion will finally settle the question of the lines for District 4 in the upcoming county election.
Members of the Yazoo County Board of Supervisors said Monday that they have requested the attorney general’s opinion, and they will follow whatever that opinion states.
Cynthia Walker and District 4 Supervisor Jayne Dew got into a heated discussion about the issue during the county board meeting Monday.
Walker and Dale Lakes, who is a candidate in the upcoming election, have argued that the county failed to change the boundary lines by the date required by law. The county recently redrew district lines, taking in parts of District 4 and District 2 to adjust for population loss in District 5. The county’s position has been that deadline Lakes and Walker base their argument on is based on federal preclearance rules that no longer apply, and the new district lines are valid.
Walker said some residents are confused about the issue.
“The most significant disenfranchisement of voters is confusement,” Walker said.
Dew interrupted Walker, saying that Walker had discussed these issues before, and the board is seeking a resolution to those concerns.
“The board is asking for an opinion from the attorney general,” Dew said. “This will be the third time that y’all have come here for the same thing. We’re not disenfranchising anyone.”
Dew said that if the attorney general says the board acted improperly by changing the lines, they will go back to the previous lines.
“If we are in error it’s because we were given bad advice,” Dew said. “It will be settled as soon as we hear from the attorney general. He’s a lot smarter than you, me, and everyone in this room so we will go with that opinion.”
Dew said the county would contact Walker when they get an answer.
“But to keep going on and on about it is ridiculous,” Dew said.
“It is the responsibility of this board to know information before you go forward and notify the public,” Walker said. “It does cause confusement. Whether we like the idea or not, it has caused confusement with this discussion, and I will come back every opportunity that I have to make sure that we operate within the letter of the law.”
“We know your concerns, thank you for coming,” said Board President Cobie Collins.
“This process needs to be resolved,” Walker said.
“It will be,” Collins responded.
Walker said she would keep coming back to discuss the matter until it is resolved.
“You can’t dismiss somebody because you don’t want to follow the law,” Walker said. “I didn’t write the law, but you’re going to follow it.”
Dew said she believes Walker is just seeking publicity. She then began to leave the board room.
“I don’t have a desire to have my name in the paper,” Walker said. “I could write a letter to the editor. This is personal Jayne, and you need to see me woman to woman. Do you want to see me in the hall?”
Walker followed Dew outside and continued.
Collins then instructed Chief Deputy Joseph Head to intervene.
“We’ve got to have a meeting,” Collins said. “Go ahead and put an end to this.”
Dew later said she thought Walker went too far.
“This affects more than just the supervisors,” Dew said. “It affects the justice court election too. If find out that we made a mistake, it was an honest mistake, and we will correct it. But the only ones constantly complaining about it is someone running against me and someone who supports him, and I’m tired of it.”