As US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden slug it out in key battleground states, a lot of voters in US, which is witnessing a record number of mail-in votes due to the pandemic, have more reasons other than just electing their President. This Election Day, voters from the Magnolia State voted to decide upon a number of issues.
Medical marijuana initiative
The voters voted to decide whether Mississippi will become the latest state to legalise medical marijuana. They approved of the medical marijuana by voting for initiative 65 and rejected lawmakers’ control over the programme.
The ballot was structured in such a way that Mississippi voters had to consider two questions ––– both would legalise medicinal marijuana but in different ways.
Initiative 65, which had been on the ballot because of a petition drive, would let doctors prescribe medical cannabis for patients with 22 conditions like epilepsy, cancer and multiple sclerosis and have the state department of health in charge of the medical marijuana programme.
Initiative 65-A would have limited medical cannabis only to patients who are terminally ill. It would also leave it up to state lawmakers to determine how exactly the programme would be set up. First, the voters were asked if they approve of either initiative. They could also vote against both.
New Mississippi flag
The voters also decided upon having a new flag for Mississippi, which has been without a flag since late June, when legislators surrendered the last state banner in the U.S. that included the Confederate battle emblem ––– a red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars.
With voters approving the design of a new flag with a magnolia and the phrase ‘In God We Trust’, it will replace Confederate-themed flag the lawmakers had retired months ago as part of the national reckoning over racial injustice.
The new flag has the state flower on a dark blue background with red bars on either end. The magnolia is encircled by stars representing Mississippi as the 20th state. The flag also has a single star made of diamond shapes representing the Native American people who lived there before others arrived.
Senator from Mississippi
This Election Day, the voters also re-elected Senator Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith over her Democratic contender Mike Espy for the role of Mississippi senator. Prior to the election, Espy was depending on a big turnout from African-Americans while Hyde-Smith pinned his hopes on the popularity of President Donald Trump’s in Mississippi brings her the numbers required to retain her seat.
Eliminating Mississippi’s electoral college
This is another issue that the voters were deciding upon this election. As of now, the winner for state offices like governor should not only win the popular vote but also needs a majority of votes in a majority of state house districts. If no candidate does that, the state House of Representatives chooses the winner. This measure of eliminating Mississippi’s electoral college would make it so that the candidate who gets the most votes on Election Day wins.
(With inputs from WMC Action news and Agencies)
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