INSTITUTE INDEX: Will Mississippi elect its next governor under Jim Crow rules?

Mississippi's upcoming gubernatorial election, which pits frontrunners Jim Hood (left), the state's Democratic attorney general, against Tate Reeves (right), the Republican lieutenant governor, is set to take place under a system dating back to Jim Crow designed to make it much harder for the African-American community to elect its preferred statewide candidates. (Official photos.)

Year in which Mississippi's legislature held a constitutional convention to disenfranchise African Americans, adopting among other things a provision requiring candidates for statewide office to win not only the most votes overall but also in a majority of the state's 122 House districts, otherwise giving the Mississippi House the power to decide between the top two vote-getters: 1890

Number of races that have ended up at the Mississippi House because of the provision, though the candidate who won the most votes has not been blocked to date from taking office: 3

Under this Jim Crow system, number of African Americans who've won statewide office in Mississippi, the state with the highest concentration of black residents: 0

Number of other states with similar provisions for electing statewide officials: 0

Month in which four Mississippi voters, all of them African-American and two of them retired political science professors, challenged the provision in court with help from former Attorney General Eric Holder, now chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and the Mississippi Center for Justice: 5/2019

Year in which Democrats in the Republican-dominated state last fielded a competitive gubernatorial candidate: 2003

In a poll released this week, percentage points by which Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, the Republican candidate, is leading over his top opponent, Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood, who is not representing the state in the lawsuit: 3

Hours of oral argument a federal judge in Jackson heard earlier this month in the suit, which names as defendants Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, both Republicans: 3

Percent of Mississippi's current population that's African American: 38

Percent of the popular vote a statewide candidate preferred by Mississippi's African-American community would need to meet the House district requirement, leading an attorney for the plaintiffs to compare the system to a racetrack in which "the finish line for the white-preferred candidate comes much earlier": 55

Date on which Mississippians will vote for a new governor, with observers saying it's likely the lawsuit will still be alive in some form at that time: 11/5/2019

(Click on figure to go to source.)