Arguments Against Election System Heard on Friday

JACKSON, MS (Ben Caxton) — The federal judge hearing a lawsuit that challenges Mississippi’s unique, multistep process of electing a governor and other statewide officials heard arguments Friday but has given no indication of how or when he might rule on the case. U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan III said few federal court rulings provide clear guidance for how he should decide the case, which includes arguments over whether the electoral system violates the constitutional principle of one person-one vote. Mississippi’s 1890 constitution requires a statewide candidate to win a majority of the popular vote and a majority of the 122 state House districts. If nobody wins both the election is decided by the House, and representatives are not obligated to vote as their districts did. The House vote was promoted as a way for the white ruling class to have the final say in who holds office. Attorneys for African American plaintiffs say Mississippi’s history of racially polarized voting means that candidates preferred by black voters must receive a higher share of the statewide vote to win a majority of House districts. They are asking Jordan to issue a preliminary injunction to block the state from using the system.


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