11/9/20 - COVID-19 Surge | Expanding Access to the Ballot | Ending a Jim Crow Election Provision
As the nation's COVID-19 cases soar, we hear from the state's medical officer about how Mississippians can continue in the fight against widespread transmission.
Then, for some lawmakers, the coronavirus pandemic id highlighting the need for expanded access to the ballot. We examine what steps the Magnolia State could take.
Plus, a Jim Crow era provision was eliminated during last week's election. How the passing of HCR 47 represents a step out of the shadows of the 19th century.
Mississippi continues to see elevated transmission rates of the coronavirus. This week, executive orders for mask mandates in certain counties will expire, and health officials are concerned about growing trends. The seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 cases have been steadily rising for a month. But State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs says that's not the only metric causing concern.
More than one million Mississippians participated in the 2020 General Election - over 240,000 by absentee ballot. The record turnout is sparking a renewed interest in expanding voting options in Mississippi after many voters were compelled to stand in long lines to cast their ballots. The call is coming from both voter advocacy groups and current lawmakers. Former legislator Jarvis Dortch, and Republican Representative Kent McCarty speak with our Desare Frazier.
Prior to Tuesday's election, Mississippi was the only state two-tier provision for electing statewide officers - a majority of the popular vote and a majority of the state's 122 House Districts. If a candidate failed to meet both thresholds, the House would elect the winner. It was a system constructed in the post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow-era, designed to prevent Blacks from winning statewide office.
But last week, Mississippians overwhelmingly elected to abolish the provision, creating a clear cut process for electing candidates for state wide office. Leslie-Burl McLemore, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Jackson State University reflects on this historic strategy to disenfranchise Blacks, and the state's decision to move away from it.