In yet another devastating blow to voting rights, a Mississippi Appeals Court decided
to keep a racist, Jim Crow-era voting restriction in place in the state's constitution
. The restriction keeps people convicted of certain felonies from being allowed to exercise one of the most important rights in the democratic process – the right to vote. Mississippi lawmakers must respond to the dangerous precedent set by this ruling and create a new voting rights law immediately!Sign now to demand Mississippi lawmakers pass a new voting rights law that would completely override this one, and give voices back to their people!It is no secret that the origins of this law are steeped in racism and white supremacy.
The law was instituted in 1890 as part of a series of policies meant to strip Black people in the American South of some of the gains of the Civil War and Reconstruction. In fact, both the majority and dissenting opinions agree that the original restriction had racist intent.
The ruling explicitly noted that the state crafted the restriction to punish those convicted of "black crimes"
while white criminals could keep their voting power. However, in a wildly inaccurate read of how power and racism works, the majority opinion claims that it no longer operates in a racist manner, as if that is possible.
For decades, research has shown that people of color – and especially Black people – are overrepresented in prisons because of racist over-policing and the criminalization of Blackness. So voting restrictions for people who have been incarcerated and convicted of felonies will disproportionately target Black communities.
There is no excuse for Mississippi's ruling, which is the equivalent of a shoulder shrug response to over one hundred years of white supremacy codified into law.Mississippi
is one of only three remaining states that imposes lifelong bans on voting for people convicted for certain felonies. This precedent is terrifying, and lawmakers must act immediately. The Mississippi state legislature must respond to this terrifying ruling by enacting a new voting rights law that overrides the courts. Sign the petition now if you agree!