Mississippi election official made a damning comment about Black voters

Mississippi election official made a damning comment about Black voters
Royalty-free stock photo ID: 342695177 Young black woman and older black male voting in a booth.

The George Floyd protests have had such an impact that in deep red Mississippi, state legislators voted to remove the Confederate emblem from the state’s flag. But concerns over racism in Mississippi politics continued to assert themselves on Sunday when Gail Harrison Welch, a state election commissioner, posted a revealing comment on social media.


“I’m concerned about voter registration in Mississippi," she wrote on Facebook. "The blacks are having lots [of] events for voter registration. People in Mississippi have to get involved, too.”

Lici Beveridge, a reporter for the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, reports that Welch’s comment “sparked outrage” in the state when screenshots of it “spread quickly” on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Mississippi State Sen. Juan Barnett, an African-American Democrat, said of Welch, “I don’t know if she is racist or not. But it’s the….  undertone and stuff of what people say that gives the illusion that that’s what you are, based on what was said.”

Facebook user Jason McCarty asserted that Welch “needs to be removed! I have (pledged) to denounce racism anytime I see it! And her ‘blacks are having’ comment is RACIST!”

Another Facebook user, Sonja V. McCaskill, urged Mississippi residents to “please vote this lady out.”

Welch, however, has defended her post, stressing that she didn’t have racist motivations. The Clarion Ledger quotes her as saying, “I have worked hard to make sure everybody is registered to vote: black or white, everybody. That's just how I am."

Nonetheless, Barnett warns that Welch’s comment raises questions about the fairness of the election process in Mississippi.

“With people saying that kind of stuff,” Barnett explained, “it makes them question: if this person is over the election, are they really going to run this? Are they really going to do what they say they’re going to do? It puts that office that you’re holding.… now, there’s some credibility issues with that office — not necessarily with you, but in that office.”

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.