Mississippi voters have never elected a Black candidate to statewide office, despite having the largest proportional Black population of any U.S. state at nearly 40%.
Advocates hope an amendment on the November ballot may change that.
Mississippi is the only state with a multistep process for electing statewide positions like governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Its electoral college-like voting system was designed by white framers in Southern Reconstruction with the intent to disenfranchise minority voters and uphold white power in politics.
If the amendment to simplify the process passes, advocates say it would spur more minority candidates to run for office in the Magnolia state — and assure minority voters their constitutionally protected right to equal representation is secure. If it doesn’t, they say it will serve as a painful reminder of the state’s deep history of voter suppression.