The Latest: Suit alleging racism in elections has been filed

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on lawsuit challenging Mississippi's method of electing a governor and statewide officials (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

A federal lawsuit seeking to strike down Mississippi's method of electing statewide officials by asserting that it's racially discriminatory has been filed in court.

The lawsuit brought Thursday by several African American residents challenges the state's nationally unique requirement that the governor and top officials win both a majority of the statewide vote and a majority of the 122 state House districts. If that doesn't happen, the election is decided by members of the House.

The lawsuit says the provision from the 1890 constitution is designed to make it harder for African Americans to win elections.

No black candidate has been elected to a statewide office since the requirement took effect.

The lawsuit is backed by an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.


9:30 a.m.

A new lawsuit by three African American residents of Mississippi seeks to block what it calls a racist method of electing the governor and other statewide officials.

The federal lawsuit being filed Thursday seeks an injunction in this year's elections against using what it describes as a "racist electoral scheme" that "dilutes African American voting strength."

To win elections in Mississippi, candidates for statewide offices must receive a majority of the popular vote and win at least 62 of the 122 state House of Representatives districts. Mississippi is the only state that requires statewide candidates to win in the majority of state House districts.

The system was put into the Mississippi Constitution in 1890, as white politicians sought to suppress black voting power that emerged during Reconstruction.

The Associated Press received a copy of the lawsuit before it was filed.

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