FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackson, Miss. – Mississippians should not be disenfranchised for simply not voting in an election. Yet, the State Senate advanced SB 2588, legislation that would force election commissioners to remove voters from the voter rolls for simply not voting.
The right to vote should not be a “use it or lose it” policy. Once registered, a voter should not be disenfranchised so long as the voter remains eligible to vote. That basic principle is one that should be jealously guarded in our democracy regardless of one’s political persuasion.
Last November, thousands of Mississippians were forced to stand in line for hours to cast their vote. Mississippi lawmakers should pass reforms that are proven to make voting safer and easier. Mississippians deserve to be able to register to vote online. Mississippians deserve access to in-person early voting. These are sensible, bipartisan reforms that would actually make life a little easier for the people of our state.
Instead, our legislature is moving backwards with SB 2588. Voter purges risk disenfranchising properly registered voters and cause confusion and delay at the polls. Such practices inevitably flag eligible voters for removal and have again and again been shown to have a disproportionate impact on racial and language minority communities.
Prior to commttiee passage, the chairman of the Senate Elections Committee, Jeff Tate, was asked a simple question about Senate Bill 2588. “Why?”
Senator Tate never answered that question.
We already know that aggressive voter purges are outright voter suppression tools. These purges would disenfranchise many eligible and previously-registered voters who do not know until Election Day that they have been purged.
The full Senate and Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann should reject SB 2588.