Complete Revision of Mississippi Election Laws
In a press conference today, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced a proposed complete revision of Mississippi Election Laws. The Secretary of State’s Election Code Study Group has recommended strengthening, updating and reorganizing the state’s election laws.
“Following implementation of a voter identification requirement by Mississippians, it is time to address outdated and inefficient election laws which have, in some cases, been on the books for decades. These proposals make it easier to cast your ballot, harder for someone to cheat the electorate and provide severe penalties for those who do. Its goal is to help ensure the integrity of our most precious right to cast a ballot in a free and fair election.” stated Secretary Hosemann.
“This proposed Legislation also addresses the voting public’s right to know who is putting mailouts in their mailbox and who is paying for them. This allows the voter to gauge credibility of the publication and the candidates for public office and their supporters to respond.” said Secretary Hosemann.
The majority of the updates bring Mississippi’s laws up to date with current elections procedures and technology. The major changes are as follows:
Modernized Criminal Penalties
· Consolidates all election crimes in Chapter 13, Title 97 of the Mississippi Code
· Updates penalties to match fines and sentences applied to other felonies and misdemeanors
Online Voter Registration
· Modernizes and streamlines Mississippi’s voter registration system
· Brings Mississippi in line with over half the United States which allows for online registration
· Will allow United States citizens who are Mississippi residents who possess a Mississippi driver’s license or DPS issued identification card to register electronically
· Will help eliminate errors and reduce costs of paper registrations
Pre-Election Day Voting
· Creates a twenty-one (21) day no excuse voting period for citizens to cast their ballot before election day.
· Voting will be conducted only at the County Courthouse during the pre-election voting period
· Any registered voter may cast a final vote during the pre-election voting period
· Eliminates the need for in-person absentee voting
Financial Disclosures to Voters
· Moves deadline for political committees to file a statement of organization from ten (10) days after receiving or spending funds, to forty-eight (48) hours after spending or receiving funds.
· Increases transparency by requiring filers to itemize payments made to credit card issuers, banks, or online payment portals
· Places sanctions on political committees that fail to make required filings with the Secretary of State
· Moves Mississippi’s Presidential Preference Primary from the second Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday
· Will make Mississippi have a stronger voice in choosing the presidential nominees