Polymorphisms in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are used to group individuals into haplogroups reflecting human global migration and are associated with multiple diseases, including cancer. Here, we evaluate the association between mtDNA haplogroup and risk of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Cases were identified by the Minnesota Cancer Surveillance System. Controls were identified through the Minnesota State driver's license/identification card list. Because haplogroup frequencies vary by race and ethnicity, we restricted analyses to non-Hispanic whites. We genotyped 15 mtSNPs that capture common European mitochondrial haplogroup variation. We used SAS v.9.3 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC) to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) overall and stratified by MDS subtype and IPSS-R risk category. We were able to classify 215 cases with confirmed MDS and 522 controls into one of the 11 common European haplogroups. Due to small sample sizes in some subgroups, we combined mt haplogroups into larger bins based on the haplogroup evolutionary tree, including HV (H + V), JT (J + T), IWX (I + W + X), UK (U + K), and Z for comparisons of cases and controls. Using haplogroup HV as the reference group, we found a statistically significant association between haplogroup JT and MDS (OR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.36, 0.92, P = 0.02). No statistically significant heterogeneity was observed in subgroup analyses. In this population-based study of MDS, we observed an association between mtDNA haplogroup JT and risk of MDS. While previously published studies provide biological plausibility for the observed association, further studies of the relationship between mtDNA variation and MDS are warranted in larger sample sizes.