For a convicted felon to vote in Mississippi, his or her state representative must personally author a bill reenfranchising that individual. Both houses of the legislature must then pass the bill. Re-enfranchisement can also be granted directly by the governor.
The percentage of state prisoners incarcerated for a drug offense peaked in 1997 at 26.9% (1 in 4 inmates) up from 10.4% (1 in 10) in 1983. As of 2008, 18.4% of all state prisoners were in for a drug related offense.
In 2002, the US Senate voted 63-31 against legislation that would have restored voting rights to ex-felons voting in federal elections.
The number of people incarcerated in US jails and prisons grew from 501,866 in 1980 (182,288 in jail + 319,598 in prison) to 2,284,913 in 2009 (760,400 in jail + 1,524,513 in prison) - a 355.3% increase during a period when the US population increased by 34.5%.