What we witnessed on Election Day was both historic and unnerving. The crowds of people voting in-person, coupled with the overwhelming amount of absentee ballots prove Mississippi voters believe in our democracy. But while long lines meant a greater turnout, no one should have to stand in line for hours waiting to vote. Mississippi must make early voting universal. After this election, it should be obvious that not doing so is voter suppression.
However, we are working today with a greater prospect for change. Much improved from where we were on November 2nd.
Mississippians took a step forward by approving ballot initiatives to adopt a new state flag and to remove from our state constitution, a Jim Crow era law written to prevent Black Mississippians from winning a statewide office.
Both measures passed with overwhelming support. And while a new state flag is largely a symbolic change, there is real opportunity behind the symbolism.
Yesterday’s vote proves that our state is better off when we directly take on our troubled past. It also confirms that our state leaders, of both parties, can build consensus on difficult issues.
You did your part. Now our state leaders must continue to do theirs. There is plenty of space for elected officials to come together to improve access to voting, health care, education, and our criminal justice system.
Our next step is to ensure they do.