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Mississippi proposes constitutional amendment on governor elections
© WikiMedia (Tom Arthur)
Mississippi proposes constitutional amendment on governor elections

Mississippi lawmakers approved a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution on Monday that would change the election procedure for governor.

Under current law, the governor is elected by an electoral vote from the Mississippi House of Representatives. With the amendment, the governor would instead be elected by a majority during the general election followed by a runoff election two weeks later. The proposal for the amendment expressly states that “no member of the House of Representatives shall receive an appointment from the governor.

The proposal was spurred in part by the case McLemore v. Hosemann, which challenged the voting laws for governor elections. The plaintiffs challenged the provisions of the state constitution in part because it causes a disparity in the value of each individual’s vote. It follows a county-unit system that “weighted votes differently depending on where the voters resided,” thereby violating the “one-person/one-vote doctrine” of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case was originally brought in May 2019, alleging that these equal protection violations were a direct result of systemic racism.

While the judge handling the case cited strong concerns over the constitutionality of the provisions, he allowed the system to remain in place for the November 2019 election because the governor won by popular vote anyway.

The state passed this legislation closely following a decision to remove the Confederate flag emblem from their flag. That decision is still awaiting signature by Governor Tate Reeves.