New ward lines may not be approved in time for 2013 elections

Biloxi, not unlike many other cities in Mississippi, may end up having to conduct elections using existing ward lines if the U.S. Department of Justice does not approve new ward lines by March 22.

Individuals interested in seeking seats on the Biloxi City Council in the upcoming municipal elections are having to file under the existing ward lines, created in 2004, but will be qualified to run in the new ward if the new lines are approved in time.

The city has not yet officially submitted the proposed ward lines to the Department of Justice, which generally has 60 days to respond. Meantime, candidates for municipal office face a March 8 deadline to file qualifying papers, and the city must print absentee ballots for the May 7 party primaries by March 22.

Mississippi State University’s Stennis Institute of Government has worked on the city’s redistricting plan since August 2011, and public hearings on the plan were conducted in October.

The creation of new ward lines was triggered by population shifts caused by Hurricane Katrina and reflected in the 2010 Census.

More online: To see the current vs. proposed ward lines and to learn more information about municipal elections, click here.

Reminder: Tom Wall services are this evening, Friday

Services have been announced for Tom Wall, the Biloxi City Councilman and businessman who died Monday.

A visitation will be conducted this evening from 5 to 7:30 and Friday from noon to 1 p.m. at the downtown chapel of Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home. A funeral service will be Friday from 1 to 2 p.m. at the funeral home chapel, which is on Howard Avenue.

Burial will be conducted at Biloxi National Cemetery.