/Mississippians can make history by removing Jim Crow-era provision on their own

Mississippians can make history by removing Jim Crow-era provision on their own

The Constitution requires that candidates for eight statewide offices receive a majority vote and win the most votes from a majority (122) of the House districts. If no candidate can do both, the election will be thrown to the House for the decision between the top two vote-getters. The 1890 Constitution also contained Jim Crow provisions, including the literacy test, poll tax, and separate but equal school districts. Federal courts ruled them unconstitutional, but Mississippi voters did not remove them from the Constitution until many years later. A lawsuit was filed in 2019 to challenge the constitutionality and validity of the House elections, also known as Mississippi’s electoral college. U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan of Southern District of Mississippi responded to the lawsuit by stating that if the state does not remove the provision, he may be forced to do so. Mississippians will have Tuesday’s opportunity to take action before being forced by a federal judge. There are no provisions in any other state that would stop the person who garnered the most votes from being seated. The state will remain outside the mainstream when it comes to electing candidates, even if the Constitution is amended by the voters. 46 states require that a candidate for statewide office win a majority of the vote. If no candidate wins a majority of the votes, the provision Mississippians are currently voting on would require a runoff between the top two vote-getters. In the 2019 lawsuit, it was alleged that the House elections dilute Black voter strength. The lawsuit stated that while Black Mississippians are more likely than others to vote for the Democratic candidate but because House districts are drawn so as to maximize the number Republicans in the House, it makes it difficult for Democratic candidates in majority House districts to win the most votes. This language was included in the Constitution in 1890, when African Americans were majority in the state. According to the lawsuit, a volume of Mississippi Historical Society stated that the Constitution was written in 1890 so that the white minority could control the House of Representatives. This was to “legally establish and bulwark the design of white supremacy” in a state where there was an overwhelming and growing number of negros. In the 1990s, the House was populated by three races. The House asked for the winner of the two election for lieutenant governor. In 1991, Brad Dye and 1995, Eddie Briggs were the losers. In 1999, Republican Mike Parker, who lost the popular vote, unsuccessfully took the election to the House where Democrat Ronnie Musgrove, who garnered the most votes, was elected by the representatives.