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 where nearly 74% of residents are Black – were not equipped with enough ballots, with some precincts even running out of their supply within hours of opening, according to widespread reports.
The line at Wildwood Baptist Church in Clinton currently. Some voters who just cast their ballot had waited for 2 and a half hours. I’m told this polling location has run out of ballots at least 5 times and have been restocked w/ less than 100 ballots every couple hours. @WLBT pic.twitter.com/azUOIvkEs2
— Brendan Hall (@HallReports) November 8, 2023
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.
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) November 8, 2023
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.”
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.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available. Please check back.
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