On November 3, Mississippi will be voting in the general election. Our federal government - President, Senator, and Representatives, are on the ballot, as well as state Supreme Court district positions, and important ballot initiatives.
Important Dates for Voting in Mississippi
The 2020 general election is on November 3. If you’re already registered to vote and you know you won’t be able to make it to the polls on election day, you may be able to vote absentee. Especially during COVID-19, voting absentee is a great way to make your voice heard and avoid the crowded polls. Even if you can’t vote absentee, polls are taking precautions, and we want you to Vote Your Voice.
Before getting started with the absentee voting process, here are some important dates you should keep in mind:
- September 4 -- Absentee ballot applications become available
- September 21 -- Absentee voting starts
- October 5 -- Voter registration ends for General Election
- October 24 - UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) Voter Registration Deadline
- October 31 at 5 p.m.-- Absentee ballots submitted in person are due
- November 3 - General Election and Regular Special Election Day
- November 3 - UOCAVA Absentee Ballot returned by email and fax Deadline, 7:00 p.m
- November 10 at 5:00 pm - Absentee Ballot due by Mail, including Presidential-only Absentee by Mail Ballot and UOCAVA Absentee by Mail Ballot. Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before election day to be timely.
- November 10 at 5:00 pm - Voter ID Affidavit Ballot Deadline
If you’re not already registered to vote, you should make that your first move. Since Mississippi doesn’t allow online voting registration, here are two ways you can register:
- Call your Circuit or Municipal Clerk’s Office. Find your Circuit Clerk’s contact information.
- Print the application and mail to your Circuit Clerk’s Office. Remember to leave extra time for the mail!
Get Your Absentee Ballot
So, you’re registered to vote, but you don’t know if you’ll be able to make it to the polls on Election Day. What’s your next move?
You find out if you’re eligible to vote absentee.
Since Mississippi doesn’t allow no-excuse absentee voting, you have to have an actual reason as to why you can’t make it to the polls (AKA you can’t just tell them you don’t feel like it).
You can vote absentee if one of the following reasons applies to you:
- You’re 65 years old or older
- You’ll be outside your home county on Election Day.
- You’re a student, teacher or administrator at a school where your studies or employment there necessitates absence from your home county on Election Day (spouses and dependents of such voters are also eligible to vote absentee)
- You’re disabled and therefore unable to vote in person
- You’re the parent, spouse or dependent of a disabled person who is hospitalized outside of the county of residence or more than 50 miles away and will be with the disabled person on Election Day
- You’re required to be at work on Election Day during polling hours
Voting Absentee During the Pandemic
Recent changes to Mississippi’s absentee voting law will allow more Mississippians to vote absentee due to COVID related health concerns.
You may vote absentee if you have a medical condition that qualifies as a “physical disability” and puts you at a greater risk of severe illness if you contract COVID-19.
Severe asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, and lupus are some of the health conditions that allow you to vote absentee in order to avoid contracting COVID-19 at your polling place.
If you have health problems and worry that you could get very sick if you contracted COVID-19, contact your county circuit clerk and ask them about voting absentee.
You may also vote absentee if you have a directive from your personal doctor to “quarantine” at your home or are caring for someone who has such a directive.
So, you’re eligible to vote absentee in Mississippi. What happens next?
You submit an application for an absentee ballot. You can:
- call your Circuit or Municipal Clerk’s Office and ask for an application
Keep in mind that absentee ballots are only available starting 45 days before the elections. If you apply for an absentee ballot beforehand, you have to wait until the day the ballots are released for your ballot to be mailed to you. After that date, you can call your Circuit Clerk’s Office, ask for an absentee ballot, and have it mailed to you, or go pick it up immediately.
Time to Vote!
Now that you have the ballot, it’s time to vote! Take time to research the candidates and their positions on issues that you care about. Fill out the form and make sure it’s signed and dated. Once it’s complete, return your form to your Circuit Clerk’s Office address via mail or in person.
You will need to use one $0.55 stamp (or one forever stamp) to mail your ballot.
Make sure your application is received by the following deadlines: in person by noon three days before the elections or in the mail by 5 p.m. on the day before the elections. Remember that if you send your ballot via mail, make sure it will be received by 5 p.m. the day before the elections, not just postmarked by that date.
If you follow all the instructions correctly but still never receive your absentee ballot in the mail, don’t worry! You can fill out a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot and your vote will still count!
Congrats! You have successfully completed absentee voting.
UOCAVA Absentee Voting
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) is a law that allows military and overseas voters to vote absentee. You have until the day of the elections to send in your ballot, and you’ll need to fill out your Federal Postcard Application to get a ballot. You can either print this form and return it to your home county’s Circuit Clerk’s Office, or you can fill it out electronically. Find your Circuit Clerk’s email information and send your application to them. Be sure to include your email in your application if you would like your absentee ballot to be sent to you that way!