Voter Fatigue? That’s the Point.

Voting booths lined up in front of a school gym wall stenciled “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” Photo: Todd Heisler/New York Times.

This year, Louisiana’s runoff election is December 5.

These “second round” elections are often for positions that directly affect our communities — jobs like city council, district attorney, and school board officials. Because of their local impact, they’re just as important as national elections. It’s also hard to win one of these races outright. 

Elections in Louisiana can only be won by “majority,” which means that a candidate has to get at least 50% plus one vote to win. In a race where there are more than two candidates, that’s nearly impossible — and that’s how we get runoffs

Runoff elections are part of the system of disenfranchisement built against Black voters during the Jim Crow era. The idea was if people had to go vote a second time for important races like governors, mayors, judges, it would “diminish the influence of Black politicians who could more easily win in a multi-candidate race with a plurality of the vote,” (source: Chicago Tribune.) In doing so, they would “preserve white political power in the majority-white state.” 

Continue reading Voter Fatigue? That’s the Point.

No One Man Should Have All That Power

February 2000, a fight breaks out in a hole-in-the-wall club in Slidell, Louisiana. It was an open mic night hosted by New Orleans rapper Mac “The Camouflage Assassin” Phipps, showcasing a crew of up-and-coming Black artists in front of a large and rowdy crowd. First came the sound of a smashing bottle, then a gunshot, and then a young man lay dying on the floor. Although a slew of eyewitnesses would come forward to police and identify another man as the one who pulled the trigger, St. Tammany’s infamous district attorney Walter Reed would convict Mac for the crime. 

Today, Mac is still imprisoned at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center. 

Illustration of Mac Phipps. Dale Edwin Murray/NPR.
Continue reading No One Man Should Have All That Power