/Reeves ignores racist history of state’s felony voting ban with vetoes

Reeves ignores racist history of state’s felony voting ban with vetoes

Perhaps those convicted in ancient Rome or Greece of felonies also lost their voting rights. The governor might be interested in asking whether slaves from ancient Rome or Greece can vote. The issue of felony disenfranchisement in Mississippi is intertwined with the state’s horrendous history of slavery, systematic racism, and the sordid past of slavery. It was clear from the narrative that felony disenfranchisement was one of many provisions in Mississippi’s 1890 Constitution meant to prevent African Americans voting. Mississippi’s Supreme Court stated that the disfranchisement for felons was meant to “obstruct” the exercise of the franchise by the “negro race” through targeting “the offenses to the which its weaker members are prone”. This was similar to the poll tax, literacy test, and other Jim Crow-era provisions designed to keep African Americans from voting. Murder and rape, the two most serious crimes that could be considered disenfranchising, were not included in the 1890 Constitution. These were added in the 1960s. Although most states have removed lifetime voting bans for felonies-convicted citizens, Mississippi still adheres to the 1890 Constitution’s process. To regain their right to vote, an individual must either obtain a pardon from the governor or be approved by two-thirds of both the legislative chambers. Mississippi is the country’s most populous state in terms of percentage of people who have lost their voting rights. The Legislature passed bills this session that restored voting rights to five Mississippians. Reeves chose not to sign the bills and instead allowed them to become law without him signing. Reeves did not veto the bill, which would have clarified that those whose felony convictions are exonerated by a judge would also be eligible to vote. Only a few crimes are eligible for expungement, and only under certain conditions. Some jurisdictions restore voting rights after crimes are expunged. Some jurisdictions aren’t. This bill was intended to clarify the intent of the Legislature to restore voting rights after crimes had been expunged. Reeves stated that to restore rights, the state Constitution must be amended first by legislative action and then by a vote of people. Reeves is supported by legal experts. A change to the Constitution would allow for the Legislature to be bypassed or a gubernatorial Pardon to restore voting rights. Others disagree. Reeves still used the occasion to veto to present his version of history. It was missing the racial components that were associated with Mississippi’s felony-disenfranchisement rules. Some expressed concern that the passage of an anti-critical race bill, which supporters claimed would prohibit critical race theory from Mississippi classrooms would stop the teaching of history about the effects of race on the nation’s and state’s history. The bill’s supporters said that they were not trying to minimize the impact of race.