Tag Archives: multiracial democracy

“Black Voters Have New Power in Mississippi. Can They Elect a Democrat?”

N.Y. Times explores potential implications of excising two relics of the state’s 1890 disenfranchising constitution. The 2023 election will proceed without a geographic support threshold for statewide offices and with the votes of felons, if they can be registered and encouraged to vote. These changes are making Mississippi’s governor’s race “improbably competitive.”

“Black leaders and civil rights groups in Mississippi see the Nov. 7 election as a chance for a more level playing field and an opportunity for Black voters to exercise their sway: Roughly 40 percent of voters are Black, a greater share than in any other state.”

Medicaid expansion is central to the race, but for a Democrat to win, Black voters will need to be mobilized and White Democrats will need to be persuaded to vote with them. Given the state’s long history of low voter turnout and racially polarized voting, this is no small hurdle.

Under the 1890 constitution, “candidates for statewide office had to win both the popular vote and a majority of State House districts.” This provision was overturned by voters in 2020. In addition, a constitutional provision barring individuals convicted of specified felonies from voting disenfranchised about one in six Black voters, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. The latter provision may be reinstated on appeal but not before this fall’s election.

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