State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: African-American voters

Historic Change Again On the Horizon in Mississippi

By Tamikia Carr Vasquez

Mississippi, historically a hotbed of racial hostility between whites and blacks, is once again on the cusp of change. In June, the Mississippi legislature voted to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state’s flag. In November, voters will have the opportunity to vote on removing the “Mississippi Plan” from the state constitution. This 1890 Jim Crow era provision states that to win certain statewide offices, a candidate must win the majority of the popular vote and win a majority of Mississippi’s 122 House districts. The Mississippi Center for Justice is on the forefront of leading the effort to abolish this procedure. In 2019, the Center  worked on a federal lawsuit against the state. I recently spoke with Vangela M. Wade, President and CEO of the Center, about the background of the current  electoral process, the prospects of the success of the referendum, and other election law issues facing Mississippi. This is part 1 of a two-part interview.

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To the Virginia General Assembly: Free the Franchise, End Felony Disenfranchisement

By Allen Coon

“No person who has been convicted of a felony shall be qualified to vote unless his civil rights have been restored by the Governor or other appropriate authority.”

So decrees Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of Virginia, which disenfranchises all Virginia residents convicted of any felony—including returning citizens with prior convictions—without petitioning the Governor. Since 2016, Virginians who have completed their sentence (including supervised probation and/or parole) can now request their rights be restored by contacting the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

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