By Edelia “Dr. Jay” Carthan,
Millions of Mississippians’ voices were heard around the state Tuesday, November 3, election day. Residents of the “Magnolia” state voted in the presidential election, a Senate race, congressional races, Mississippi Supreme Court judges’ race, a new state flag and legalized Marijuana.
Although the Presidential race is still undecided and is very close, Mississippians were quite clear on several ballot measures and other key races. At press time, approximately 70% of the precincts reported are included in this article based off results reported by the Associated Press.
Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a white Republican who said she wanted to be front row of a public hanging, won reelection for United States senator by defeating Mike Espy, a black Democrat, formerly the first black congressman from MS and the first black to serve as U.S. secretary of agriculture under the Clinton Administration.
Mississippi hasn’t had a black representative in the senate since Hiram Rhodes Revels was elected by the senate in 1970. He resigned one year later to be president at Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College, now Alcorn State University.
Although Espy outraised Hyde-Smith by millions of dollars, Hyde-Smith received 58% of the votes compared to Espy’s 40% percent. In her victory speech, Hyde-Smith told her crowd of supporters, “The best thing about beating Mike Espy is beating him twice.”
In the U.S. House of Representatives race, District 1, Republican incumbent Trent Kelly defeated Antonia Eliason by winning 70% of the votes. In District 2, Congressman Bennie Thompson was the only Democrat pulling out a win by 64% over Brian Flowers. Republican incumbent Michael Guest won by 65% of the vote over Dorothy Benford. And House District 4 Republican incumbent Steven Palazzo was uncontested and declared winner.
Results from the Mississippi Supreme Court were disappointing. Judge Latrice Westbrooks received 48% of the vote conceding to Kenny Griffis who received 52% of the votes. King and Randolph ran uncontested.
Mississippians voted overwhelmingly to pass all of the ballot measures that were on the ballot.
The statewide Measure 1a to allow medical marijuana passed with 74% percent of the vote. Opposers efforts to include 65A on the ballot to prevent the measure from passing, did not work this time around. However, it is important that citizens understand that weed is not legal only medical marijuana.
“Weed ain’t legal. Medical marijuana was legalized, not your personal stash at the house. You still can’t fire up in public. And even if you get a card, your job can still fire you for failing a drug test,” Brad “Kamikazee” Franklin wrote on his page the day after the election trying to educate citizens that marijuana is not legal. “Don’t take yall goofy asses outside somewhere chief’n talking bout ‘I know my rights.’ Also, the cards and the medical Marijuana won’t be available until at least mid 2021. Til then, do like ya been doing. And don’t mess this up for everybody. We close real close to recreational being legal and that is the aim.”
The statewide Measure 2 addressing the outdated 1890 Mississippi Constitution was to determine who decides a runoff in a governor’s race. The measure passed by 78% of Mississippians voting yes to change the measure. The 1890 State Constitution was written after Reconstruction to disenfranchise African Americans and to prevent them from gaining political power. Mississippi needs an updated inclusive state constitution. It’s time for a Constitutional Convention.
Statewide Measure 3 to approve the redesign of the state flag passed with 72% of the votes. Mississippians voted to change the controversial state flag to the In God We Trust Design. The Legislature voted this summer to change the state flag and put the measure on the ballot. This is just one of the first steps to a new and better Mississippi.
“I encourage you to not be dismayed. Do not be disappointed. Do not be discouraged; We have a lot of fighting to do. Like Joe Biden said, ‘We are fighting for the soul of America,’” Pastor James Hull said in a video on his Facebook page. “Don’t be afraid, be angry. Don’t be despondent, be encouraged. Don’t be discouraged, be energized so we can take this country back. You need to be in this fight.”
Long lines and voter suppression efforts were reported throughout the state. Although millions of Mississippians showed up to vote, thousands were disenfranchised and cheated of their right to vote. As we have witnessed during this election, every vote does count. Your vote is your voice and Mississippians’ voices were heard this election cycle.