Come on now, Mississippi

In a monumental federal lawsuit filed this week, Mississippi’s Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is being sued in a challenge of a discriminatory law dating back to the early 1920s. The law requires naturalized citizens to provide proof of citizenship when voting, and does not require US-born voters to do the same. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance by four litigants, including the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, says the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because it distinguishes between naturalized and US-born citizens. The Lawyers’ Committee cites Census Bureau data that shows Mississippi’s population of naturalized citizens, most of which is non-white, has grown rapidly in the last decade. This law places an undue burden on a growing segment of the voting population in a state with a history of disenfranchisement of non-white communities. Combined with another challenge a Jim Crow-era law this year, Mississippi has a great opportunity for the state to begin remedying its history of voting rights suppression by repealing these laws. Come on, Mississippi, please don’t wait 148 years again to do the right thing.

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