Federal judge to consider Mississippi elections rule challenge, just ahead of governor’s vote

Published 1:41 pm Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A federal judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit that challenges Mississippi’s unique, multistep process of electing the governor and other statewide officials.

Friday’s hearing comes less than a month before the gubernatorial election between Republican Tate Reeves and Democrat Jim Hood.

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, now controlled by Republicans.

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Attorneys for black plaintiffs say because of the way state House districts are drawn, the electoral system dilutes African American votes.

State attorneys say the system is not discriminatory.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III will consider plaintiffs’ request that he block the state from using the system.