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Mississippi residents to vote on Jim Crow-era provision meant to dilute Black voting power

Mississippi residents are set to vote later this year on striking Jim Crow-era provisions that were meant to dilute Black voting power, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

The vote follows the state's decision to remove its Confederate-themed state flag late last month.

The state is facing increased pressure from lawsuits and the possibility of action taken to federal court, leading legislators to include a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would make changes including removing an Electoral College-type provision from Mississippi's 1980 constitution, simplifying statewide elections. 

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According to the AP, Mississippi is the only state to exhibit this type of system for state elections.

If the amendment is adopted, statewide candidates who receive the majority vote will win their election. If no one secures the popular vote in an election of three or more, the top two candidates will enter a runoff. 

Mississippi's state constitution dictates that any statewide candidate must win the majority of the popular vote and the majority of the state electoral vote. An electoral vote is offered to the candidate who receives the most support in each of the 122 state House districts.

However, if a candidate does not win the popular vote and the electoral vote, the race is then decided by the state House. Representatives are not obligated to vote for the same candidate as the districts did.

The constitutional provision promoted a system in which a while ruling class had the final say in which candidate holds office, according to the AP.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III wrote in November that he had "grave concern" surrounding the constitutionality of the electoral vote stipulation. Jordan said that plaintiffs' argument about the infringement of one person, one vote is "arguably ... their strongest claim" in challenging the provision.