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Pictured from left to right, Gregory Blanchard, 53, Clyde Lewis, 59, Tommy McCoy, 48 and Anthony Boggan, 49, pose for a group portrait on McCoy's front porch, in Meridian, Miss., on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. Distrust of the government runs deep in the Black community in Mississippi, where harsh voter suppression tactics - voting fees, tests on the state constitution, even guessing the number of beans in a jar - kept all but about 6% of Black residents from voting into the 1960s. Boggan sometimes votes, but is sitting it out this year, disgusted at the choices. “They’re all going to tell you the same thing,” he said. “Anything to get elected.” (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 29 October 2020

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.

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