Mississippi State Constitution of 1890


ARTICLE 12 – The Franchise

Sec. 240. All elections by the people shall be by ballot.

Sec. 241. Every male inhabitant of this State, except idiots, insane persons and Indians not taxed, who is a citizen of the United States, twenty-one years old and upwards, who has resided in this State two years, and one year in the election district, or in the incorporated city or town, in which he offers to vote, and who is duly registered as provided in this article, and who has never been convicted of bribery, burglary, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretenses, perjury, forgery, embezzlement or bigamy, and who has paid, on or before the first day of February of the year in which he shall offer to vote, all taxes which may have been legally required of him, and which he has had an opportunity of paying according to law, for the two preceding years, and who shall produce to the officers holding the election satisfactory evidence that he has paid said taxes, is declared to be a qualified elector; but any minister of the gospel in charge of an organized church shall be entitled to vote after six months residence in the election district, if otherwise qualified.

Sec. 242. The legislature shall provide by law for the registration of all persons entitled to vote at any election, and all persons offering to register shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I________________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am twenty-one years old, (or I will be before the next election in this county) and that I will have resided in this State two years, and _______election district of _________county one year next preceding the ensuing election [or if it be stated in the oath that the person proposing to register is a minister of the gospel in charge of an organized church, then it will be sufficient to aver therein, two years residence in the State and six months in said election district], and am now in good faith a resident of the same, and that I am not disqualified from voting by reason of having been convicted of any crime named in the constitution of this State as a disqualification to be an elector; that I will truly answer all questions propounded to me concerning my antecedents so far as they relate to my right to vote, and also as to my residence before my citizenship in this district; that I will faithfully support the constitution of the United States and of the State of Mississippi, and will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. So help me God." In registering voters in cities and towns, not wholly in one election district, the name of such city or town may be substituted in the oath for the election district. Any willful and corrupt false statements in said affidavit, or in answer to any material question propounded as herein authorized, shall be perjury.

Sec. 243. A uniform poll tax of two dollars, to be used in aid of the common schools, and for no other purpose, is hereby imposed on every male inhabitant of this State between the ages of twenty-one and sixty years, except persons who are deaf and dumb or blind, or who are maimed by loss of hand or foot; said tax to be a lien only upon taxable property. The board of supervisors of any county may, for the purpose of aiding the common schools in that county, increase the poll tax in said county, but in no case shall the entire poll tax exceed in any one year three dollars on each poll. No criminal proceedings shall be allowed to enforce the collection of the poll tax.

Sec. 244. On and after the first day of January, A. D., 1892, every elector shall, in addition to the foregoing qualifications, be able to read any section of the constitution of this State; or he shall be able to understand the same when read to him, or give a reasonable interpretation thereof. A new registration shall be made before the next ensuing election after January the first, A.D., 1892.

Sec. 245. Electors in municipal elections shall possess all the qualifications herein prescribed, and such additional qualifications as may be provided by law.

Sec. 246. Prior to the first day of January, A.D., 1896, the elections by the people in this State shall be regulated by an ordinance of this convention.

Sec. 247. The legislature shall enact laws to secure fairness in party primary elections, conventions or other methods of naming party candidates.

Sec. 248. Suitable remedies by appeal or otherwise shall be provided by law, to correct illegal or improper registration and to secure the elective franchise to those who may be illegally or improperly denied the same.

Sec. 249. No one shall be allowed to vote for members of the legislature or other officers who has not been duly registered under the constitution and laws of this State, by an officer of this State, legally authorized to register the voters thereof. And registration under the constitution and laws of this State by the proper officers of this State is hereby declared to be an essential and necessary qualification to vote at any and all elections.

Sec. 250. All qualified electors and no others shall be eligible to office as otherwise provided in this constitution.

Sec. 251. Electors shall not be registered within four months next before any election at which they may offer to vote; but appeals may be heard and determined and revision take place at any time prior to the election; and no person who, in respect to age and residence, would become entitled to vote, within the said four months, shall be excluded from registration on account of his want of qualification at the time of registration.