What’s wrong with this picture? A federal appeals court in Mississippi, in recently considering whether to overturn an 1890 law that makes it almost impossible for ex-convicts to ever vote again, wrote that the law was “steeped in racism” from its very inception. Then that same court upheld the law anyway, saying Mississippi has made enough progress in modern times to avoid the law’s historically racist outcomes. But all indications are that those racist outcomes continue, in Mississippi and almost a dozen other states.
Long before the current wave of red state laws making it harder for Democratic-leaning voters to vote, some states barred ex-convicts from voting, often with laws written during the Jim Crow era with racial disenfranchisement specifically in mind.