Local Elections

Published on October 29th, 2020 | by Newt Rayburn

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Understanding Mississippi’s 2020 Ballot Initiatives

Statewide Ballot Measure 1: Medical Marijuana: “Should Mississippi allow qualified patients with debilitating medical conditions, as certified by Mississippi-licensed physicians, to use medical marijuana?”

If passed this ballot initiative will amend the Mississippi Constitution.

Question #1 of this ballot measure asks, are you “For or Against” approval of medical marijuana in the State of Mississippi? If a majority of Mississippians are “Against” medical marijuana, then Question #2 is irrelevant. However, if a majority of Mississippians are “For” medical marijuana, then Question #2 is very relevant.

In the event that Question #1 passes and Mississippians vote “For” medical marijuana, then Question #2 will determine the specifics of the measure. Question #2 asks you to vote how medical marijuana is administered in the Constitution, either through Initiative 65 or Initiative 65A. These initiatives require the support of at least 40 percent of the voters to pass.

Voters who choose “For” in the first question must answer the second question for their ballots to be valid. Voters who answer “Against” can, but do not need to, answer the second question for their ballots to be counted.

Initiative 65 gives a fiscal analysis of a medical marijuana program and limits how money is used from this program. Initiative 65A allows the State of Mississippi to regulate medical marijuana with applicable laws.

Statewide Ballot Measure 2: An amendment to electing the Governor of the State of Mississippi

If passed this ballot initiative will amend the Mississippi Constitution.

This ballot measure amends the Mississippi Constitution’s requirements for the election of Governors and other offices. It does not ask a question. The purpose of this ballot measure is to remove the electoral system that Mississippi uses to choose candidates for state office.

Currently, in Mississippi, a candidate for Governor or elected statewide office (Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture, and Commissioner of Insurance) is required to win the popular vote and the highest number of votes in a majority of the state’s 122 House districts (the electoral vote). If no candidate secures majorities of both the popular and the electoral vote, under Article V, Section 141, the Mississippi House of Representatives considers the two highest vote-getters and votes to choose the winner. The current election system was adopted in the state constitution of 1890.

If passed, Ballot Measure 2 would eliminate Mississippi’s electoral voting system, and candidates would be elected by a popular majority only, possibly giving densely populated areas more influence than rural areas.

Statewide Ballot Measure 3: Flag Referendum

If passed this ballot measure is a referendum. Should the referendum result in a “yes” vote for the proposed design, then the design will be officially adopted as the new state flag of Mississippi during the next regular legislative session. Should the referendum result in a “no” vote for the proposed design, the commission will reconvene and propose a different design for next year’s elections.

Question: “Please vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on whether the following design shall be the official Mississippi State Flag.”

For a sample ballot for Mississippi, click here.

Mississippi – November 3, 2020 Statewide Election Results
Mississippi Mental Health Clinic Launches Podcast

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About the Author

Newt Rayburn founded THE LOCAL VOICE in 2006. Previously, Newt was Editor of PROFANE EXISTENCE in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Art Director for Ole Miss' LIVING BLUES magazine. Newt won a National Magazine Award in 1999 for his SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE with THE OXFORD AMERICAN. A seventh-generation Lafayette County, Mississippian, Newt is perhaps best known as the leader of the Mississippi RocknRoll band THE COOTERS, but he also has the Country & Southern Rock group, HAWGWASH. Newt is a Photographer, Writer, and Civil War Enthusiast.



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