States had success with racial justice issues on ballot

This summers’ Black Lives Matter protests may have played a role in how voters decided on racial justice ballot measures in five states. Mississippi citizens voted to accept the new flag design on Election Day... ...solidifying the permanent removal of the controversial old flag. In a similar move, Rhode Island voters decided to change the name of the state. The full name is, “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”, which some have argued refers to the United States’ grim history of slave trade. The amendment passed, with 53.12% of voters agreeing with the change. . Nebraska and Utah voters shared the same opportunity to remove language in the states' constitutions. amendment on the ballot to remove language from the Nebraska constitution that allowed the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as criminal punishments. 68.17% of Nebraskans voted yes for the removal... ..while in Utah, voters were a lot less torn, with the amendment passing with 80.59%. California’s measure involved removing previous legislature that was meant to close the racial divide. . This amendment would have repealed the 1966 Proposition 209. This stated that the government and public institutions cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting. The measure did not pass with 56.48%, allowing the 1966 measure to remain intact.

This summer’s Black Lives Matter protests may have played a role in how voters decided on racial justice ballot measures in five states.

Mississippi citizens voted to accept the new flag design on Election Day, solidifying the permanent removal of the controversial old flag. Legislators voted in June to retire the last state flag, which featured the Confederate battle emblem.

Some Mississippians were not in favor of the change. In an interview with The Associated Press, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who leads the Let Mississippi Vote campaign, wants the old flag to have a chance for a comeback.

“In my mind, it is not about a flag at all — this is about the people having a voice,” McDaniel said.

Hundreds attended a Statehouse rally in August, hoping to have a measure on the 2021 ballot that would give voters a chance to reinstate the controversial flag.

“Ultimately we will be pleased with whatever the people decide,” McDaniel said.

In a similar move, Rhode Island voters decided to change the name of the state. The full name was “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” which some have argued refers to the United States’ grim history of slave trade.

The Rhode Island amendment passed, with 53.12% of voters agreeing with the change.

Nebraska, Utah and Alabama voters shared the same opportunity to remove language in state constitutions.

Nebraska legislators put an amendment on the ballot to remove language from the Nebraska Constitution that allowed the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as criminal punishments. About 68 percent of Nebraskans voted yes for the removal.

In Utah, voters were a lot less torn, with the amendment passing with 81% approval.

Alabama voters reversed themselves from a few years ago and removed racist vestiges of segregation from the state constitution that courts long ago ruled unconstitutional.

The Alabama measure begins the process of removing Jim Crow language from the 1901 Constitution that was intended to entrench white supremacy. Voters in the mostly white, conservative state had rejected similar proposals twice since 2000.

California’s measure involved removing previous legislation that was meant to close the racial divide.

Proposition 16 was a new affirmative action measure. This amendment would have repealed the 1966 Proposition 209. This stated that the government and public institutions cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to people on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, public education and public contracting.

The measure did not pass, allowing the 1966 measure to remain intact.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

In Other News