Was the fix in?
Residents in parts of Mississippi disproportionately populated by Black people were the victims of not only voter intimidation ahead of Election Day but were also met with extreme voter suppression when it came time to cast ballots on Tuesday, reports suggested after a series of circumstances left no other feasible explanation.
In particular, multiple polling places in Hinds County – home of Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson where nearly 74% of residents are Black and boasting the highest population of any state county – were not equipped with enough ballots, with some precincts even running out of their supply within hours of opening, according to widespread reports.
The reports of voter suppression came in the hours before Republican Gov. Tate Reeves — on whose behalf the state GOP was accused of employing racist fearmongering tactics — won his reelection.
At least eight polling places in Hinds County didn’t have enough ballots for voters whose intentions to participate in the democratic process should have been made clear by their registrations. Some of them ran out of ballots multiple times throughout the day on Tuesday.
Notably, Jason McCarty, a member of the Hinds County Democratic Party Executive Committee, noted that Mississippi voters were “not seeing any of these issues in any other precincts in any other counties, to this degree.”
McCarty raved about the “overwhelming, amazing turnout we are seeing in Hinds County,” suggesting that an outsized number of Black voters were affected by the lack of ballots.
A judge ultimately ordered the polls to stay open just one hour later than normal to accommodate voters unable to gain access to ballots, but only after the state’s Democratic Party filed a motion for that to happen.
A judge later denied the request to keep polls open until 9 p.m. Polls were originally scheduled to close at 7 p.m.
WLBT reported that Republicans were adamant about not extending polling hours and keeping the votes of those who cast ballots after 7 p.m. “segregated and not counted with ballots of voters in line prior.”
In addition to the preventable deficit of ballots in majority-Black polling places, an investigation by the Mississippi Free Press found that the state has wrong or missing addresses for 92 voting precincts.
Hinds County was “among the 21 counties where the Mississippi Free Press identified address errors.”
Mississippi’s election was held one day after local NAACP leaders condemned a police checkpoint near the state’s largest polling place – which just so happens to be in its majority-Black capital city and “next to” Jackson State University, a historically Black college – as “voter intimidation” and suppression tactics.
Notably, Jackson is a city that Census data shows has a population of nearly 83% Black people.
Janai Nelson, President and Director-Counsel of LDF, specifically blamed “Mississippi’s failed election system & ongoing voter suppression.”
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