Mississippi has a long and troubled history with regard to voting rights.
Shortly after the Civil War and during the Reconstruction Era, a lack of federal government oversight allowed Mississippi and other Southern states to institute Jim Crow laws that effectively took the right to vote away from millions of African Americans. These discriminatory laws lasted from the late 19th century up until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Minorities trying to exercise their constitutional right to vote were faced with illegal literacy tests, poll taxes, and in many cases, violence. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act forced Southern states to do away with these racially biased voter laws. Within five years, the number of registered black votersin Mississippi rose from 7% to 67%.
However, there is much work to be done to right the wrongs of the past and ensure greater participation in the democratic process. The vestiges of discriminatory voting laws still remain in Mississippi and other Southern states. Measures such as allowing voters to register online and ensuring the right to vote by early ballot for all voters help legitimize elections by increasing voter turnout.
This toolkit provides an overview of the issues, fact sheets, sample social media posts, and talking points for you to use in your activism.