Mississippi Is About To Have An Election Under Jim Crow
State lawmakers could choose the next governor because of a little-noticed 1890 provision designed to disenfranchise Black voters.
This fall in Mississippi, a group of elected officials could block the candidate who wins a majority of statewide votes from assuming the Governor’s Mansion and the attorney general’s office. And it would be completely legal.
That’s because of a long-overlooked provision in the state’s 1890 Constitution. The measure requires candidates for statewide office to win not just a majority of the vote but also a majority of the 122 districts in the state House. If a candidate wins a majority of the statewide vote but not a majority of the districts, the members of the Republican-controlled state House choose who wins the election. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the Mississippi House of Representatives picks a winner from the two candidates who received the most votes.