4/14/21 - J&J Vaccine Pause | Your Vote, Your Voice: Part Three | Supreme Court Hears Initiative 65 Case
Health officials call for a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following a change in CDC guidelines.
Then, in the third installment of Your Vote, Your Voice, we examine both past and existing barriers to ballot.
Plus, the fate of medical marijuana possible hangs in the balance as the Mississippi Supreme Court hears oral arguments challenging the legitimacy of Initiative 65.
Mississippi vaccine providers are pausing Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccinations in the state while the CDC investigates siz related cases of blood clots. No cases of the rare blood clot associated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine have been identified in Mississippi. But health officials in say they are erring on the side of caution until the CDC has finished it's investigation. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the risk of someone getting this type of blood clot from the J&J vaccine is extremely rare. Around 53,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine are at clinics, pharmacies and hospitals across Mississippi. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says those doses will likely not go to waste in that time.
Throughout American history, access to the ballot has been a dynamically controversial issue. When the nation was founded, voting was limited to white landowners. Efforts to expand the right to vote over the centuries were often met with resistance. And even after the 15th, 19th and 26th amendment removed federal restrictions based race, color, previous condition of servitude and sex - and reduced the legal age to 18 - many communities still face barriers to voting.
Aside from voting rights secured through constitutional amendments, the federal government currently exhibits little power over elections. The power to manage and administer elections belongs to the states, and it is where some barriers can still be found. We examine the history of voting laws and practices designed to create roadblocks to the ballot with Christy Wheeler, co-President of the Mississippi League of Women Voters and Pauline Rogers of the RECH Foundation.
Mississippi Supreme Court justices will hear oral arguments today challenging signature collections for Initiative 65. The constitutional amendment - approved by over 70 percent of Mississippi voters last November - makes medical marijuana legal in the state. But the mayor of the City of Madison is challenging the initiative, claiming signature collections for the ballot referendum are unconstitutional. The Mississippi constitution requires an equal number of signatures from five congressional districts. The state lost a seat after the 2000 Census, but the constitution hasn’t been updated to four districts to change the process. Ken Newburger is with the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association. He says signatures gathered during the initiative process were legitimate.