The case for letting ‘Birthright Mississippians’ vote in elections

What if Mississippi did the right thing and let all Mississippians vote?

I not advocating lowering the voting age to include toddlers and such – though, come to think of it, they might not do much worse than the grownups. I do support felons who’ve completed their sentences, but they’re not my topic now.

Rather, I speak on behalf of us adult natives who just don’t happen to, strictly speaking, live in Mississippi. Physically.

Birthright Mississippians, I’ll call us, unmoored for whatever reasons from the place that is still really home. Elvis was one. Archie is. Oprah, I guess.

I’m on the lower end of that spectrum.

I was reminded of my limbo status the other day when I was talking to a fellow and mentioned how long I’d been living in my current house – which is longer than I’ve ever lived in any other residence.

“Well,” he said, “I guess you’re a New Yorker now.”

“No,” I quickly replied. “No, no, no. I’m a Mississippian.”

Which is in some respects more true now than it was during all those years I did live in the state. As I’ve said before in a column that is apparently hidden behind some paywall now, the farther I get from Mississippi, the more Mississippi I feel.

But, disenfranchised. Unable to have an official say on matters of import.

This despite having been born in Mississippi, educated in Mississippi, living in Mississippi for approaching four decades and being a fifth-generation Mississippian.

Meanwhile, under Mississippi law, anyone who is otherwise a U.S. citizen and manages to stay put for 30 days – one month! – can register to vote and have his or her voice fully heard and recorded.

I’m not suggesting they be barred, just that we be added. Remember: This is for Elvis!

Or his memory. Elvis would be disqualified from voting for a completely different reason nowadays.

How about Archie, then? Is there a more revered and (ahem) Sainted Mississippian? And yet, Archie is denied an electoral say in matters, as is his lovely and fellow native wife, Olivia.

I’m not arguing for Peyton, mind you, though perhaps Eli and Cooper, owing to their Ole Miss pedigrees, could be considered permanently naturalized Mississippians.

Clearly, I haven’t worked out all the fine points of my proposal. Another hitch: What if somebody is born in Mississippi but then soon whisked off by parents to, say, Kansas, or Minnesota?

Maybe you should have to finish high school in Mississippi. Or at least some elementary school. Kindergarten? I mean, shoot, Pascagoula claims Jimmy Buffett, and he left before first grade.

And how long was Oprah in Kosciusko? Should she get a vote? It would have to mean forfeiting the right to vote elsewhere.

Again, details. These things can be worked out among reasonable people. All I’m asking is that we Mississippi Birthrighters adrift in other states get the same rights to vote as Americans living in other countries.

I’m not even suggesting that we be able to vote in local elections. I’d settle for the statewide offices. Governor. Lieutenant governor. Attorney general. U.S. senator.

Especially U.S. senator.

News

Mississippi reports first case of West Nile virus in 2024

News

Man found dead in his car after initiating chase with Mississippi police

News

Mississippi national park commemorates Juneteenth with luminaria display

News

Watermelon truck fully engulfed in flames keeps Mississippi firefighters busy

News

Manhunt for ‘armed and dangerous’ murder suspect under way from Oklahoma to Alabama

News

Mississippi man arrested, accused of stealing from construction site

News

Popular Mississippi catfish restaurant closes after report of rodents, wastewater leads to failing health inspection

News

Mississippi woman charged with murder of 2-year-old daughter who officials say was ‘forcibly drowned’

News

Mississippi police searching for group of males who attacked victim with bat, robbed him of money and then shot him multiple times

News

Mississippi officials looking for culprits after new outboard motor stolen from boat

News

Mississippi teen charged with rape and burglary after reported sexual assault

News

Mississippi postal worker ordered to repay $80,000 she stole from taxpayers

News

Mississippi man pleads guilty to making antisemitic calls to Pennsylvania Jewish businesses, synagogues

News

Prison safety concerns raised after report of inmate death shows Mississippi man had meth in system while behind bars

News

Three Mississippi teens killed in late night wreck, four others injured in two-vehicle crash

News

Small-town SCORE! New Chick-fil-A coming to Mississippi town with less than 5,000 people

News

15-year-old Mississippi girl arrested after she reportedly attacked sleeping mother with knife

News

U.S. military community mourns death of leader at Mississippi’s Camp Shelby Training Center

News

Two men arrested in Texas for murder at Mississippi convenience store

News

Mississippi man dies in drowning in waters along Alabama beach

News

Major League Baseball fans mourn former player who died in Mississippi interstate crash

News

Two-year-old Mississippi boy killed in accidental shooting

News

Officials: Mother of abducted child found dead in Mississippi woods likely died from numerous stabbings

News

Mississippi engineers developing a device to microdose LSD, other psychoactive drugs