The Mississippi Constitution strips the ballot from people convicted of any of 10 felonies, including murder, forgery and bigamy. The attorney general later expanded that list to 22, adding crimes that include timber larceny and carjacking. The plaintiffs argue disenfranchisement violates the U.S. Constitution because it was adopted with the discriminatory intent of keeping African Americans from voting.
…African-Americans make up about 38 percent of Mississippi’s population and 36.5 percent of the state’s registered voters. Youngwood said 59 percent to 60 percent of people convicted of disenfranchising crimes in the state are black.
Some states automatically restore voting rights once someone gets out of prison, while others automatically restore rights once someone completes parole or probation. But Mississippi requires people to go through the arduous process of getting individual bills passed just for them with two-thirds approval by the Legislature, or getting a pardon from the governor.