Home - Breaking News, Events, Things-To-Do, Dining, Nightlife


Efforts to Curb Jim Crow-Era Voting Restrictions Fail in Mississippi Legislature

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Kenneth Almons says he began a 23-year sentence in a Mississippi prison just two weeks after graduating from high school, and one of his felony convictions — for armed robbery — stripped away voting rights that he still has not regained decades later.

Now 51, Almons told lawmakers Wednesday that he has worked hard and remained law-abiding since his release, and he wants to be able to vote.

“It would mean I am no longer considered a nobody,” Almons said. “Because when you don’t have a voice, you’re nobody.”

Mississippi is among the 26 states that remove voting rights from people for criminal convictions, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

Mississippi’s original list of disenfranchising crimes springs from the Jim Crow era, and attorneys who have sued to challenge the list say authors of the state constitution removed voting rights for crimes they thought Black people were more likely to commit.

Under the Mississippi Constitution, people lose the right to vote for 10 felonies, including bribery, theft and arson. The state’s previous attorney general, a Democrat, issued a ruling in 2009 that expanded the list to 22 crimes, including timber larceny and carjacking.

In 1950, Mississippi dropped burglary from the list of disenfranchising crimes. Murder and rape were added in 1968. Attorneys representing the state in one lawsuit argued that those changes “cured any discriminatory taint,” and the conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court agreed in 2022.

To have voting rights restored, people convicted of any of the crimes must get a pardon from the governor or persuade lawmakers to pass individual bills just for them, with two-thirds approval of the House and Senate. Lawmakers in recent years have passed few of those bills, and they passed none in 2023.

Two lawsuits in recent years have challenged Mississippi’s felony disenfranchisement. The U.S. Supreme Court said in June that it would not reconsider the 2022 5th Circuit decision.

The same appeals court heard arguments on the other case in January and has not issued a ruling.

In March, the Republican-controlled Mississippi House voted 99-9

Read original article by clicking here.

Local Dining Stream

Things To Do

Related articles