JACKSON, Miss. – On Wednesday, February 13, a federal district court in Mississippi granted class certification for the Plaintiffs in Hopkins v. Hosemann, a case seeking to reinstate voting rights for Mississippi citizens convicted of disqualifying offenses following sentence completion.
“Wednesday was a major step to victory for Mississippians who have paid their debt to society and deserve to participate fully in our political process,” said Jody Owens, managing attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “By granting class certification, the Court concluded that all Mississippians subject to the state’s lifetime voting ban who have completed their sentences will be class members in the Hopkins lawsuit,” which was brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.
While the Hopkins litigation continues to progress in federal court, the full Mississippi House of Representatives passed HB 637, a voting rights study committee bill, on Monday with no opposition. The full Senate has yet to take up the bill.
“Mississippi legislators ought to take note of this case development and of the broad-based agreement among Mississippians that persons who have completed their sentences deserve to have their voting rights reinstated,” continued Owens. “The Mississippi Senate should pass HB 637 and set a swift and decisive course for restoring such citizens’ voting rights, which would bring Mississippi voting laws into the present-day, strengthen communities, reduce recidivism, and improve public safety.”