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Mississippi

2019 is a big year for Mississippi. 

Long seen as a conservative stronghold, the state is a Republican trifecta – Republicans control the Governorship and both chambers of the legislature. But the entire state legislature is up for election in 2019, and they are all “Last Chance” races—the legislators who are elected in 2019 will draw district lines during the 2021 redistricting cycle. Additionally, the current Governor is term-limited in 2019, and the Democratic candidate, state Attorney General Jim Hood, is viable and well-liked.

The South is rising, as evidenced by the Doug Jones victory in Alabama, and the near-wins of Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and, of course, Mike Espy in Mississippi — all propelled by people of color, women, and young people.  But painful voter suppression laws, including strict voter ID requirements and permanent felon disenfranchisement, have helped unfairly maintain Republican power. 

Racial-Diversity

Racial Diversity

59% Caucasian
37.5% African American
1% Asian
1.2% two or more races
.9% other races
.4% Natives of North America

The 2019 population of
Mississippi is estimated at
2.99 million. 

Mississippi currently has a
population growth rate of 0.30%

Male-Female-2

Male Population:
1,454,556

Female Population:
1,539,523

Elderly

In 2017,
there were
451,200 
people
65 years
or older.

Current State Legislature

Mississippi is a Republican trifecta; Republicans control the Governorship and both chambers of the legislature. The entire Mississippi state legislature is up for election in 2019, and these are all “Last Chance” races – the legislators who are elected in 2019 will draw district lines during the 2021 redistricting. The current Governor is a Republican, but is term-limited in 2019 and cannot run again. The Governor does not have the power to veto district maps drawn by the state legislature.

The State Senate is currently comprised of
19 Democrats and 33 Republicans. 

The State Senate is currently comprised of 19 Democrats and 33 Republicans. The House of Representatives currently has 47 Democrats and 73 Republicans. The gubernatorial election is competitive, particularly in this open race. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate is viable and well-liked: he is the current state attorney general, Jim Hood. Building momentum at the bottom of the ticket will benefit the top of the ticket too in this critical redistricting moment.

Mississippi is also poised to make big gains this year. The South is rising, as evidenced by the Doug Jones victory in Alabama, and the near wins of Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and, of course, Mike Espy in Mississippi — all propelled by people of color, women, and young people. The infrastructure and voter data that was generated during the Espy race can be put toward Democratic efforts this year. The energy around certain progressive issues is also strong and has the ability to bring people across the aisle. In our conversations with stakeholders across the state, we have seen a tremendous amount of energy and strategy stemming from efforts make public education better for everyone.

Senate and Congress

One Senator and four Representatives whose seats will be up for election in 2020. This includes Republicans Cindy Hyde-Smith, Trenty Kelly, Michael Guest, Steven Palazzo, and Democrat Bennie Thompson.

The House of Representatives currently has
47 Democrats and 73 Republicans. 

Gubernatorial

Mississippi limits governors to two terms. The current governor, Republican Phil Bryant, completes his two terms in 2019. The Republican candidate for governor is the current lieutenant governor, Tate Reeves, who is considered the
heir-apparent by Republicans. When he announced his intention to run at the GOP headquarters, he had already raised more than $5 million. But Attorney General Jim Hood, known as the “last Democrat in Dixie” announced his intent to run in October. He is considered very popular and has strong support in rural and North Mississippi.

Meet Our Mississippi Candidates

Shanda Yates

Mississippi

House of Representatives

Brandon Rue

Mississippi

House of Representatives

August 6th: Primary election
November 5: General Election

Voter Registration 

To register to vote you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a resident of Mississippi
  • Be 18 years old at the time of the next election
  • Live in the town in which you are registering to vote for at least 30 days prior to the election
  • Not be disenfranchised because of conviction for one of 22 listed crimes (see Voter Suppression)

Voter Suppression

In terms of eligibility, individuals convicted of one of 22 specific felony crimes permanently lose the right to vote, even after they have served their time. In 2016, 218,181 people—which includes one in six African American adults in the state— were disenfranchised due to this restriction. 

There is currently a lawsuit arguing that this change to criteria was intended to discriminate on the basis of race and violates the First and Eighth Amendments of the US Constitution as well as the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

The 22 felonies that permanently disenfranchise Mississippians are: armed robbery, arson, bigamy, bribery, carjacking, embezzlement, extortion, felony bad check, felony shoplifting, forgery, larceny, murder, obtaining money or goods under false pretense, perjury, rape, receiving stolen property, robbery, statutory rape, theft, timber larceny, and unlawful taking of a vehicle.

All others retain their voting rights, even while in prison. Re-enfranchisement for those who have lost the right to vote can only be granted through a bill passed by both houses of the legislature or through the Governor.

Required ID

Since a 2011 amendment which took effect in 2014, Mississippi voters are required to present photo identification in order to vote in person, but not to vote absentee. 

Acceptable IDs include: 

  • Driver’s license
  • Photo ID card issued by a branch, department, or entity of the State of Mississippi
  • United States passport
  • Government employee ID card
  • Firearms license
  • Student photo ID issued by an accredited Mississippi university, college, or community/junior college
  • United States military ID
  • Tribal photo ID
  • Any other photo ID issued by any branch, department, agency or entity of the United States government or any State government
  • Mississippi Voter Identification Card

Last Day

Registration must be completed 30 days prior to the election.
For the August Primary, you must register by Sunday, July 7th, 2019.
For the November Election, you must register by Tuesday, October 7th, 2019.

Absentee Ballots

Mississippi does not permit early voting or no-excuse absentee voting. Valid excuses for voting absentee rather than physically going to the polls are: 

  • Scheduled travel on Election Day
  • Being a student or teacher
  • Having a disability or caring for someone with a disability
  • Being 65 years old or older
  • Being required to work on Election Day.

Absentee voting deadline: Nov. 4

District Lines

Both congressional and state district boundaries are drawn by the state legislature. State legislative district boundaries must be approved as joint resolution and are not subject to governor veto, however congressional boundaries are approved by regular legislation and as such are subject to veto by the governor of Mississippi.

45% of the population is registered Republican and 37% Democrat in 2017. Based on historical patterns, Mississippi’s districts have been gerrymandered to favor Republicans, but as of March 2019, 36% of seats in both the state Senate and state House of Representatives are held by members of the Democratic Party.

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