2018 Voter Rights Legislative Agenda

EXPANDING ACCESS FOR ALL MISSISSIPPI VOTERS

One of the most important civil rights battles in American history was waged heavily in the State of Mississippi. Men and women of all races and faiths fought for, and some literally died for, every citizen to have the right to vote. The right to vote is as sacred in the constitutional lexicon as the freedom of speech and expression. Legislators should continue to do everything within their power to protect and enhance this right. Creation of online registration and early voting opportunities are critical to ensuring that every voting age Mississippian has the opportunity to exercise this fundamental right. Any legislation that increases access to the polls should be strongly supported.


Here are the Voting Rights bills we're tracking this legislative session:

Support

HB 62, HB 93, HB 333 - Pre-election day voting, authorize.

Description: Allow early voting in Mississippi

Our Position: These bills would expand access to the ballot box for all Mississippians by allowing time before Election Day for early voting without excuse. We support these bills because early voting makes elections more accessible and improves voter participation and retention.

HB 65 - Online voter registration; revise to allow for first-time voters to register through

Description: Online registration for first time voters

Our Position: This bill would expand access for all Mississippians by allowing online voter registration, providing the convenience and ease that individuals need to register to vote. 

HB 246 - Restoration of suffrage; prescribe conditions that do not require legislative action for

Description: Felony re-enfranchisement without legislative approval

Our Position: Getting one’s civil rights restored under current Mississippi law is challenging. This bill provides an alternative to legislature approval for felony re-enfranchisement. All citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to vote without restriction. Full citizenship requires the ability to have a voice in government.

HB 276 - Right to vote; restore to people who committed nonviolent disqualifying crimes upon meeting certain requirements.

Description: Re-enfranchisement of non-violent felony offenses 

Our Position: This bill allows for the restoration of voting rights without legislature consent for certain felons who have committed non-violent crimes. All citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to vote without restriction. Full citizenship requires the ability to have a voice in government.

HB 286 - Right to vote; restore to veterans who committed nonviolent disqualifying crimes upon completing the sentencing requirements.

Description: felony re-enfranchisement for veterans

Our Position: This bill allows for the re-enfranchisement without approval of the legislature for felons who have completed military service and have not committed violent crimes. All citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to vote without restriction. Full citizenship requires the ability to have a voice in government.

HB 499 - Elections; require employers to let employees certain time off to vote in.

Description: Allows employers to provide time off for employees to vote during elections

Our Position: This bill furthers voting rights for all Mississippians by mandating that employers give their employees time off to go vote on Election Day, allowing more Mississippians to participate in the democratic process without penalty.

HB 774 - Voter enfranchisement; create joint legislative study committee on.

Description: Bipartisan committee to study voter disenfranchisement

Our Position: This committee would study the possibility of rewriting disenfranchisement laws for non-violent offenses. The likely outcome of this committee would be to create smart policies around non-violent felony disenfranchisement.  

HB 803 - Certified poll managers; revise number to be designated as.

Description: Reduce number of poll workers

Our Position: This bill lowers the number of certified poll workers per precinct from two to one, allowing for less expenditures by the county. 

HB 926 - An act to authorize online voter registration for first-time voters

Description: Online voter registration; revise to allow for first-time voters to register through.

Our Position: Online voter registration saves taxpayer dollars, increases the accuracy of voter rolls, reduces clerical errors, and provides a convenient option for Mississippians who wish to register or update their information. Having online voter registration for first-time voters will not compromise the safety of voter information or increase fraudulent voter registrations, as strict voter ID laws and voter registration guidelines will still apply. 

HB 1001 - An act to create the Early Voting Act

Description: authorize (2) weeks of early voting for each primary, general, runoff, special , and municipal election for public office.

Our Position: Our voting system should be set up so that every eligible citizen has a fair chance to vote, including busy working parents, rural voters, frequent movers, and other Mississippians who face similar challenges. Flexibility to vote early helps to ensure that people can exercise the fundamental right to vote. Early voting makes it easier for more people to participate in the political process.

SB 2298 - Absentee voting; may be conducted by voting machine if clerk and board of supervisors approve.

Description: Allows for absentee voting to be conducted on electronic voting machines 

Our Position: This bill allows for absentee voting to be conducted on voting machines, freeing up county clerk personnel and resources. This bill will help modernize voting. 

SB 2299 - Absentee voting by mail; change notarization requirements for ballots submitted by certain college students.

Description: Changes requirements for absentee voting for college students 

Our Position: This bill removes the notarization requirement for full time university, college, or junior college students, making it easier for students to vote by absentee ballot. This bill allows more Mississippians to participate in the democratic process. 

SB 2515 - Suffrage; provide for restoration upon completion of sentence and other conditions

Our Position: This bill would restore the right to vote to individuals who have committed crimes upon the completion of their sentencing requirements. We support this bill because suffrage is a fundamental right for all citizens, and it should not be lost just because you have committed a crime.

SB 2875 - Electronic voter registration; authorize

Description: Online Registration for first-time voters

Our Position: These bills would expand access for all Mississippians by allowing online voter registration, providing the convenience and ease that individuals need to register to vote.

SB 2877 - Early voting; authorize for the two-week period preceding an election

Our Position: This bill would expand access to the ballot box for all Mississippians by allowing two weeks of no-excuse early voting before Election Day. Early voting makes elections more accessible and improves voter participation and retention. This bill would help make it easier for all Mississippians to participate in the Democratic process. 

SB 2906 - Elections; authorize pre-election day voting and online voter registration.

Description: early voting and online voter registration

Our Position: These bills would expand access for all Mississippians by allowing online voter registration, providing the convenience and ease that individuals need to register to vote. This bill would also expand access to the ballot box for all Mississippians by allowing time before Election Day for early voting without excuse. 


Oppose

SB 2636 - Voter registration; require applicants to submit acceptable 

Description: When registering to vote, applicants must provide specific documents to prove citizenship. 

Our Position: This bill would require voters to submit proof of citizenship through documents such as birth certificates. This bill is unnecessary and would have the consequence of excluding eligible voters who have a social security number and can prove they are citizens, but may have trouble accessing these specific documents like a birth certificate. 


Neutral

HB 1419 - Absentee voting; establish electronic application procedure for college students

Description: Students provide documentation; automatically mailed absentee ballot

Our Position: This bill would make it easier for students to vote before election day, however everyone should be entitled to vote early before an election, regardless of if they are a student or not, through early voting. 

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