Mississippi’s Constitution, born in 1890 from the cauldron of white supremacy, continues to bar thousands of Mississippians from voting, a lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges. “The scheme, created in the wake of Reconstruction, was harsh, punitive and unforgiving,” the lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center alleges. “Born out of racial animus and still disproportionately impacting black Mississippians, the scheme impermissibly denies the right to vote to tens of thousands of citizens across the state.” Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, put the number of disenfranchised Mississippians at more than 180,000 — 8 percent of the adult population. Gov. Phil Bryant opposes any change to the law.
“There is a price to pay for violating the laws of the state of Mississippi, particularly a felony,” he said recently. “And one of them is that you lose your right to vote unless it is restored by the Mississippi Legislature. … I wouldn’t want to change it.”
In 1890, Mississippi adopted a constitution that sought to disenfranchise black voters by establishing literacy tests and poll taxes — a strategy soon copied by other Southern states.
James K. Vardaman, who served as both governor and U.S. senator, declared, “There is no use to equivocate or lie about the matter. Mississippi’s constitutional convention of 1890 was held for no other purpose than to eliminate the n—– from politics.”
Full Article: 180,000 Mississippians no longer have right to vote: senator.