As a result of our state’s laws and policies, Black Mississippians face voter suppression at every step of the voting process.
42 states, including our neighbors in Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama allow online voter registration. Mississippi does not. 47 states allow in-person early voting. Mississippi does not.
It should not come as a surprise that Mississippi ranks at the bottom in voter turnout. But instead of removing barriers, the Mississippi legislature passed laws to remove voters. In the most difficult state to cast a ballot, lawmakers are now allowing voters to be purged for simply not voting.
It’s almost enough to make you want to give up. After all, that is the entire point.
But Black Mississippians have made a culture of overcoming struggle - see our music, food, books, artists, athletes, etc.
But just because we can overcome doesn’t mean we should accept it. And the best way to fight back against voter suppression is to vote. Vote for candidates that respect your voting power. Vote for candidates that will listen to your voice. Make your voice heard by voting.
During the 2023 general election, the ACLU of Mississippi prioritized the truth: that Black voters do have a voice in who leads our state – particularly voters in Hinds County.
The 2019 election for governor was decided by less than 50,000 votes. In that same election, 95,000 Hinds County voters did not cast a ballot. Republican or Democrat, Hinds County can have a say in who leads our state.
To encourage voters to turn out, we produced and placed online video ads in Hinds County – as well as DeSoto and Harrison Counties. In all, since September, this digital campaign has resulted in over 3 million impressions. On YouTube alone, there have been 183,000 ad views.
We also sent direct mail to 44,000 infrequent Hinds County voters and ran stadium ads at Jackson State’s home football games.
Because of the growth and demographic changes in DeSoto County, we worked with community partners to knock on over 8,000 doors during the month of October. Many of these voters are new to our state and may not know their voting power.
This was a major investment by our office. We were not thinking about just one election but how we could best move our state forward. It was an investment in Mississippi’s future. Our democracy works best when all voices are heard. Mississippi is better when our state government listens to everyone, including the voices of Black voters.