New Voting Lines Split Vancleave Community

For years the residents in the Vancleave community have lived, worked, and voted together.

"Even though we are wide and spaced out, we all come together in this little community right here," Chrissy Shellmett said.

"Vancleave has been a community for a long time even though we are not incorporated as such," Gary Sevinsky said.

Now, new voting lines put what's considered the heart of Vancleave in one voting block and the outlying, more rural areas into another voting block. Residents say the county's new lines are going to break up their community.

"In a way it breaks the town apart," Sevinsky said. "I'm not too sure that's good."

"I really don't like it, because I like our voting the way it is now," Linda Downs said.

"I think it should be left alone, because it's not that big of a place," Frances Albair said.

County supervisors had to redraw voting districts to comply with the 2000 census. Federal and state laws requires each county voting district to have an equal number of people. To make that happen, Supervisor John McKay says Vancleave voters had to be divided into different districts.

All county leaders can do is listen to the complaints unless a court orders the county to take another look at the new lines.

Supervisors say Vancleave wasn't the only area effected by the census. Major voting changes are coming to the areas around Moss Point and Gautier.

By Ken Flanagan