Measure would change statewide elections process, replacing Jim Crow-era law
JACKSON, Mississippi – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has launched a $25,000 digital advertising campaign, urging Mississippians to vote yes on Ballot Measure 2 on Election Day.
Ballot Measure 2 would ensure that Mississippi statewide candidates who receive the most votes win elections.
The existing law, drafted as part of the current Mississippi Constitution in 1890, created a two-tiered process for electing someone to statewide office, requiring statewide candidates to win the popular vote and a majority of House districts. If no candidate accomplishes both, Mississippi’s highly gerrymandered House of Representatives determines the winner.
A relic of the Jim Crow era, this law has made it nearly impossible for a Black person to win a statewide election since it was enacted.
“This voting law has roots in Mississippi’s 1890 Constitution which was drafted exclusively by white men for the purpose of preventing a Black candidate from winning statewide office and preserving white political dominance in the state,” wrote Brandon Jones, Mississippi Policy Director for the SPLC, in an op-ed published recently in the Clarion Ledger.
Ballot Measure 2 would remove the requirement to win a majority of House districts. Instead, the candidate receiving a majority of the votes in a general election will be elected to office, with a runoff election in place should no candidate receive a majority of the votes cast.
“By voting ‘yes’ on Ballot Measure 2, Mississippi voters have a chance to overturn a racist 1890 election law that has no place in 2020 Mississippi,” Jones wrote.
SPLC’s digital ads urging voters to support Ballot Measure 2 will run through Election Day on Nov. 3.