En Español

Election Administration in Mississippi

Expand All Collapse All

Election Types and Dates

Election Dates

Upcoming Primary Elections

The primary elections for federal offices, including President, as well as for state supreme court justices, state appellate court offices, levee commissioners, election commissioners, and school board members, is on March 8, 2016. The primary runoff election, if necessary, is on March 29, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mississippi Elections Calendar 2015-16 [link]

Upcoming General Elections

The general election is on November 8, 2016. The general runoff election, if necessary, is on November 29, 2016.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mississippi Elections Calendar 2015-16 [link]

How is a nominee determined?

How is a nominee determined (caucus, primary, convention)?

Primary elections.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-1081 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-1031 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-291 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-309 [link]

Political Party Affiliation

Can voters register by party in the state?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mississippi Voter Registration Application [link]

Must voters be registered with a political party if they would like to vote on that party’s candidates in a partisan primary election (i.e., are primaries open or closed)?

Open. A voter who participates in a party's primary election should intend to support that party's nominee in the general election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-575 [link]

When can a voter change or switch their party affiliation?

Voters in Mississippi do not formally affiliate with political parties.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mississippi Voter Registration Application [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-575 [link]

Voter Registration

Who Can Vote?

What are the state's residency requirements for voters?

To register to vote in Mississippi, a person must live in the county and city in which the person seeks to vote for at least 30 days.

People experiencing homelessness or otherwise living in a non-traditional home should attach to their voter registration application a drawing or map that shows their address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mississippi Voter Registration Application [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-11 [link]

Can someone pre-register to vote if they will not be 18 years old by the next election? If so, who?

A person can register to vote if they will 18 years old by the next general election, even if they will not be 18 by the next primary election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-11 [link]

Can 17-year-olds who will be 18-year-olds by the general election vote in the primary?

Yes, if they will be 18 by the general election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-11 [link]

Does the state take away the right to vote from persons convicted of certain crimes? If so, what crimes?

People convicted of the following crimes in Mississippi lose the right to vote:

  • Vote fraud
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Bribery
  • Theft
  • Arson
  • Obtaining money or goods under false pretense
  • Perjury
  • Forgery
  • Embezzlement
  • Bigamy
  • Armed robbery
  • Extortion
  • Felony bad check
  • Felony shoplifting
  • Larceny
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Robbery
  • Timber larceny
  • Unlawful taking of a motor vehicle
  • Statutory rape
  • Carjacking
  • Larceny under lease or rental agreement

If a voter has been convicted of a crime not on this list (including a felony) they can vote while incarcerated, such as by absentee ballot, as long as they are properly registered to vote. A conviction of a federal crime or a conviction in a state other than Mississippi does not affect the right to vote in Mississippi.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Const. art. 12, § 241 [link]

Mississippi Voter Registration Application [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-11 [link]

If people lose the right to vote because of a criminal conviction, can they regain the right to vote? How?

A person who lost their right to vote because of a felony conviction may only regain that right by receiving a pardon from the Governor or by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Mississippi Legislature.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Const. art. 5, § 124 [link]

Miss. Const. art. 12, § 253 [link]

Voter Registration Options

Is fully online voter registration available? (i.e., can voters fill in and submit an online application without printing and signing it?)

Starting July 1, 2016, Mississippi will allow registered voters who have a Mississippi driver's license or state ID card to update their exisiting voter registration information through a website.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. H.B. 809 (2016) [link]

Mississippi Voter Information Guide [link]

Does the state accept the National Mail Registration Form?

Yes. Click here to download the form.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

National Mail Voter Registration Form [link]

Is the state required to register voters at public assistance agencies and driver's license agencies, per the National Voter Registration Act of 1993?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

U.S. Department of Justice website [link]

Student-Specific Rules

Does the state have specific rules on students registering to vote or voting?

Students who have a bona fide intent to make their school address their home can register to vote at that address. Otherwise, students must register at their permanent, non-school address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-11 [link]

Voter Registration Deadlines

When is the voter registration deadline?

30 days before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-47(2)(a) [link]

How is the deadline enforced for mailed applications?

Postmark - An application should be postmarked by the voter registration deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-47(2)(a) [link]

Voter Registration Drives

Does the state require organizations conducting voter registration drives to register?

No.

Are there restrictions on getting voter registration forms?

Bulk quantities of voter registration applications must be furnished by the Secretary of State to any person or organization. The Secretary of State must charge a fee for the actual costs of providing a bulk quantity.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-47(4)(c) [link]

Does the state require any training in order to conduct voter registration drives?

No.

Does the state have restrictions on who may help others register to vote?

No.

Does the state have restrictions on paying drive workers, or additional rules related to payment?

No.

Are there restrictions on the voter registration drive offering something of value to a person in exchange for completing a voter registration application?

Federal law states that whoever "pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years." At least one federal appellate court has interpreted "payment" as "intended to include forms of pecuniary value offered or given directly to an individual voter, and indicated the value should be based on "an assessment of the monetary worth of an item from the perspective of the voter receiving the item." That case held that food vouchers could be "payment."

Another example is California's Secretary of State's interpretation of the federal law to mean that "Any type of incentive is considered 'payment,' even things as seemingly innocent as cookies or admission to an entertainment event."

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

California Secretary of State's Guide to Voter Registration Drives, p. 11 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 10307(c) [link]

United States v. Garcia, 719 F.2d 99, 102-103 (5th Cir. 1983) [link]

Must the registration drive worker sign the completed voter registration application, and must the drive or canvasser place other information on applications?

Mississippi's voter registration application contains the question, “Was any person or group involved in the process of completing this form other than the voter? If yes, the person or group must provide the information below,” and it provides fields for name and address. Further, the application indicates that if the applicant is unable to sign the application, the person who assisted the applicant must sign it.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Mississippi Voter Registration Application [link]

Does the state have a rule requiring a receipt or other tracking information to be provided to the applicant?

No.

Are there restrictions on copying completed voter registration applications prior to submitting them to the election official, or other restrictions on data entry or disclosure?

This is not addressed in Mississippi election law.

Is there a time limit for voter registration groups to submit the voter registration applications they collect?

Applications must be submitted at least 30 days before Election Day for the applicant to vote in that election.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-47(2)(a) [link]

What are the consequences for failing to submit applications on time?

This is not addressed in Mississippi election law.

Same-Day Registration

Can voters register and vote on the same day (i.e., does the state offer same-day registration)?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-47(2)(a) [link]

Voters Who Have Moved or Changed Their Name

Can people vote if they moved, but did not update their voter registration with their new address?

A person who moves to a new address within the same voting precinct or ward can update their voter registration address at the polls on Election Day. A person who moves to a new address that is within the same county but outside of their former voting precinct or ward within 30 days before Election Day can update their voter registration address at the polls on Election Day and vote an affidavit ballot (also known as a provisional ballot).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-13 [link]

Can people vote if they have changed their name, but did not update their voter registration with their new name?

Yes, if the voter’s name on their photo ID is substantially similar to their name as it appear in the pollbook. If the voter’s name is not substantially similar, then the voter may cast an affidavit (provisional) ballot, and the voter has five (5) business days after the election to provide an acceptable form of photo identification to the registrar which shows the voter's name as substantially similar to the name as it appears in the pollbook.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Interview with Mississippi Secretary of State's Office [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563(3) [link]

Language, Literacy, and Disability Access

Language and Literacy Access

Does the state have any places that must provide election materials in languages other than English, per Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

Yes, the following counties must provide election materials in Choctaw:

  • Attala County
  • Jackson County
  • Jones County
  • Kemper County
  • Leake County
  • Neshoba County
  • Newton County
  • Noxubee County
  • Scott County
  • Winston County
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Voting Rights Act Amendments of 2006, Determinations Under Section 203, 76 Fed. Reg. 63602 (Oct. 13, 2011) [link]

Does the state have any other rules about providing election materials in languages other than English?

No.

Who can help a voter with reading assistance or translation if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote due to inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Mississippi's state law has the same for people who receive assistance when voting on Election Day. However, for people who receive assistance when voting an absentee ballot, the person assisting the voter also cannot be a candidate.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-549 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-631(1)(f) [link]

Disability Access

Who can help a voter with a disability if they can't vote on their own?

Under Section 208 of the federal Voting Rights Act, any voter who requires assistance to vote due to inability to read or write may be given assistance by a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer, an agent of that employer, or an officer or agent of the voter's union.

Mississippi's state law has the same for people who receive assistance when voting on Election Day. However, for people who receive assistance when voting an absentee ballot, the person assisting the voter also cannot be a candidate.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-439 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 10508 (federal law) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-549 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-631(1)(f) [link]

Does the state have other rules related to access for persons with disabilities?

Mississippi offers "curbside voting" to voters with physical disabilities. On Election Day, a voter with a physical disability may remain in their car outside of the polling place, and two or more poll managers may deliever a ballot to a voter, allow the voter to mark it in secret, and then deliever the ballot back to the polling pllace.

Additionally, voters with physical disabilities who cannot vote in person on Election Day without causing substantial hardship or danger to themselves or others may vote by absentee ballot, and they may apply for absentee ballots by mail instead of applying in person. Also, if a voter has a permanent physical disability, the voter can apply to automatically receive absentee ballots for each future election without having to reapply before every election. To do so, the voter must include with their absentee ballot application a signed statement signed by the voter's physician or nurse practitioner that indicates the voter has a permanent physical disability that makes it difficult for them to vote. The statement must also indicate that the person signing the statement is a licensed, practicing medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

Finally, persons adjudicated to be "non compos mentis" (mentally incompetent) cannot vote. However, commitment or admission to a mental health treatment facility, and findings of needs for treatment or authorizations of continuing treatment, ds not generally constitute an adjudication of non compos mentis.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-11 (mental incompetence) [link]

Miss. Code § 41-21-101 (mental incompetence) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-713(d) (absentee voting eligibility) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-541(2) (curbside voting) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-629 (absentee voting by voters with permanent physical disabilities) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(b) (absentee voting mail application) [link]

Early Voting, Absentee Voting, and Other Ways to Vote

Vote-by-Mail

Does the state provide mail ballots to all voters without a request?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-713 [link]

Early Voting/Absentee In-Person Voting

Does the state have early voting/absentee in-person voting?

In-person absentee voting is allowed. However, only the following voters are allowed to vote an absentee ballot in person:

  • Any voter who will be away from their home county on Election Day for any reason.
  • Any voter with a physical disability who cannot vote in person on Election Day without causing substantial hardship or danger to themselves or others.
  • Any person who is at least 65 years old.
  • Any person who cannot vote on Election Day because they are required to be at work during the times the polls are open.
  • A parent, spouse, or dependent of a person who has a temporary or permanent physical disability and is hospitalized outside their county of residence or more than 50 miles away from their residence, if that parent, spouse, or dependent will be with the person on Election Day.
  • Any student, teacher or administrator at any college, university, junior college, high school, junior high school, or elementary school whose studies or employment at such institution necessitates their absence from their home county of their voting residence on the date of any primary, general or special election, and the spouse and dependents of this voter if they maintain a common home with the voter outside of the county.
  • A member of Mississppi's congressional delegation who will be outside of Mississippi on Election Day, and the spouse and dependents of the member.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(a) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-713 [link]

Where does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

The county registrar's office for all elections except for municipal elections, where it occurs in the municipal clerk's office.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(a) [link]

When does early voting/absentee in-person voting take place?

In-person absentee voting starts the 45th day before Election Day and ends at 12:00 p.m. on either (1) the Saturday before an election held on a Tuesday, (2) the Thursday before an election held on a Saturday, or (3) two days before an election held on any other day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-637 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(a) [link]

What official chooses early voting/absentee in-person voting locations?

None. State law requires that in-person absentee voting occur in county registrar offices and, for municipal elections, in municipal clerk offices.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(a) [link]

Are lists of early voters/absentee in-person voters published? How?

Each registrar must maintain a list of people who have requested an absentee ballot and post this list in a place accessible to the public near the entrance of their office. Additionally, poll managers on Election Day must post in polling places lists of all people in the precinct who have voted an absentee ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-625(4) [link]

Absentee Voting by Mail

Can anyone vote absentee by mail without an excuse? If not, what excuses allow a voter to vote absentee by mail?

No. A person can vote an absentee ballot by mail only for one of the following reasons:

  • The voter temporarily lives outside of the county
  • The voter has a temporary or permanent physical disability
  • The voter is 65 years old or older
  • The voter is a parent, spouse, or dependent of a person who has a temporary or permanent physical disability and is hospitalized outside their county of residence or more than 50 miles away from their residence, if the voter will be with that person on Election Day.
  • The voter is a military/overseas voter, or a hospitalized war veteran with a disability who is a Mississippi citizen, or the veteran's spouse and dependents (see section below on "Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Voters" for more information.)

(Note that this is a different list of reasons than the list of reasons why a person can vote an absentee ballot in-person; see the previous section on "Early Voting/Absentee In-Person Voting" for more information on in-person absentee voting.)

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(b) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-627 [link]

Deadline to apply for absentee ballot by mail

There is no specific absentee ballot application deadline. However, after receiving an application, county registrars have 24 hours to mail the voter an absentee ballot, and the voter must mark and mail back the absentee ballot in time so that it is received by 5:00 p.m. on the day before Election Day. Therefore, voters should apply early enough that the registrar can receive the application, mail the voter a blank absentee ballot, and receive the voter's completed absentee ballot before this deadline.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-637 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(b) [link]

How does a voter apply for an absentee mail ballot?

The voter must request, in writing or orally (including over the phone), an absentee ballot application from the county registrar. Alternatively, the voter can designate in writing (witnessed by a Mississippi resident) an assistant who can request and receive an absentee ballot on their behalf. The assistant can be the voter's parent, child, spouse, sibling, or legal guardian; a person with power of attorney over the voter's affairs; or another agent of the voter.

The registrar will then mail the voter an application (or give the voter's assistant an application in the registrar's office). The voter must complete the application and return it to the registrar by mail.

Additional requirements apply to certain voters that wish to vote an absentee ballot by mail:

  • Voters temporarily residing outside of the county must have their their application notarized (or signed by an official authorized to administer oaths for absentee balloting).
  • Voters with temporary or permanent physical disabilities must sign their application and have it witnessed by a person who is at least 18 years old.

Additionally, if a voter has a permanent physical disability, the voter can apply to automatically receive absentee ballots for each future election. To do so, the voter must include with their absentee ballot application a signed statement signed by the voter's physician, or nurse practitioner, that indicates the voter has a permanent physical disability that makes it difficult for them to vote. The statement must also indicate that the person signing the statement is a licensed, practicing medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(b) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-625(5) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-627 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-657 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-629 (absentee voting by voters with permanent physical disabilities) [link]

Can a voter make an online request for an absentee mail ballot?

No, absentee ballot applications must be submitted by mail.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(b) [link]

Does a voter need to submit any supporting documentation or verification with an absentee mail ballot or absentee mail ballot application? If so, what is required?

Yes, in some circumstances. The following verification is required for absentee ballot applications:

  • Voters temporarily residing outside of the county must have their their application notarized or signed by an official authorized to administer oaths for absentee balloting.
  • Voters with a temporary or permanent physical disability must sign their application and have it witnessed by a person who is at least 18 years old.

For absentee ballots themselves, voters must have the absentee ballot envelope notarized by an "attesting witness," which includes a public notary or a U.S. postmaster, assistant postmaster, postal supervisor, clerk in charge of a contract postal station, or any officer authorized to administer oaths. An exception applies to voters with temporary or permanent disabilities, who do not need their absentee ballot envelope notarized. However, their envelope must be signed by a witness who is at least 18 years old and is not a candidate who appears on the ballot.

Additionally, if a voter receives assistance completing their absentee ballot (or the envelope) due to disability or illiteracy, the person assisting the voter must sign the absentee ballot envelope.

Finally, if a voter has a permanent physical disability, the voter can apply to automatically receive absentee ballots for each future election without having to reapply before every election. To do so, the voter must include with their absentee ballot application a signed statement signed by the voter's physician, or nurse practitioner, that indicates the voter has a permanent physical disability that makes it difficult for them to vote. The statement must also indicate that the person signing the statement is a licensed, practicing medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(b) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-631(1) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-629 (absentee voting by voters with permanent physical disabilities) [link]

Are there restrictions on who may request or turn in an absentee mail ballot application for a voter?

Generally, a voter may designate the following people to request an absentee ballot application on the voter's behalf:

  • The voter's parent, child, sibling, spouse, or legal guardian
  • A person who has power of attorney over the voter's affairs
  • An agent of the voter

To designate one of these people to request the absentee ballot application, the voter must make the designation in writing, and the writing must be witnessed by another person who lives in Mississppi, who must sign and put their address on the writing. This person may then orally request an application from the county registrar in the registrar's office and deliver it to the voter.

For voters living in skilled nursing homes, the voter's spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, adult child, grandchild or legal guardian can solicit an absentee ballot application or absentee ballot for a voter even if the voter does not designate them in writing. Alternatively, a voter in a skilled nursing home can designate any other person to do so.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-721(3) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-715(b) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-627 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-625(3) [link]

Deadline to return absentee ballots

Receipt - the ballot must be received in the mail by 5:00 p.m. on the day before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-637 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-721(3) [link]

Are there restrictions on who may return a voter's absentee mail ballot for them?

Mississippi law does not address whether the voter can designate someone to put their completed absenteee ballot in the mail for them.

Are there any special emergency rules that allow a voter to vote absentee by mail if they are unable to make it to the polls at the last minute?

No.

Are lists of people who vote absentee by mail published? How?

Each registrar must maintain a list of people who have requested an absentee ballot and post this list in a place accessible to the public near the entrance of their office. Additionally, poll managers on Election Day must post in polling places lists of all people in the precinct who have voted an absentee ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-625(4) [link]

Presidential-only ballots

Under federal law, any registered voter who moves out of the state after the 30th day before a Presidential election may vote for President and Vice President either in person at the voter’s previous state of residence or using an absentee ballot from the voter’s previous state of residence.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

52 U.S.C. § 10502(e) [link]

Absentee Voting for Military and Overseas Voters

Who is eligible for military/overseas absentee voting?

The following Mississippi citizens can vote an absentee ballot under procedures for military and overseas voters if they are outside of their county where they live:

  • People temporarily residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia
  • Commissioned and enlisted Members of the Armed Forces
  • Members of the Merchant Marines or the American Red Cross
  • Civilians attached to any branch of the Armed Forces, the Merchant Marines, or the American Red Cross and serving outside the United States
    • Students enrolled in the United States Naval Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academy, United States Air Force Academy, or United States Military Academy
  • Disabled war veterans who are patients in any hospital
  • Any trained or certified emergency response provider who is deployed during the time period authorized by law for absentee voting, on Election Day, or during any state of emergency declared by the President of the United States or any Governor of any state within the United States

The spouse and dependents of any of the above people also qualifie as a military/overseas voter if they will be outside of the county where they live on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-673 [link]

How do voters apply for a military/overseas ballot?

Military and overseas voters can either:

(1) Request a regular absentee ballot application from their county registrar in writing or orally (including over the phone), fill out the application, and mail it to the county regisrar (see above section on Absentee Voting by Mail for further information); or

(2) Submit a Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) to their county registrar by mail, fax, electronically, or e-mail.

After an application is approved, the voter will automatically receive absentee ballots for all federal, state, and county elections through the next federal general election.

An application can be signed by electronic signature.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-699(3) (FPCA) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-627 (regular applications) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-677(1) (FPCA) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-687 (generally) [link]

Deadline to apply for a military/overseas ballot

There is no military/overseas ballot application deadline. However, voters should apply earlier enough that they have time to receive and cast their ballot before deadline to submit the ballot itself.

Deadline to return the military/overseas ballot

The ballot must be received by the county registrar no later than 7:00pm on Election Day. Note that a military/overseas voter can return their ballot by mail, fax, electronically, or e-mail.

Additionally, a military/overseas voter must be registered to vote at least 10 days before Election Day. A voter can use a Federal Postcard Application (FPC)A) to both request a ballot and register to vote at the same time, so long as it is received 10 days before Election Day. Similarly, a voter can use a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to both vote and register to vote at the same time, so long as it is recieved 10 days before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-699 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-677 [link]

Who is eligible to use a write-in absentee ballot? How does it work?

All military and overseas voters can use a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) to vote in federal, state, and county elections. Additionally, a FWAB can be used to both vote and register to vote at the same time so long as it is received no later than 10 days before Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-699 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-677(2) [link]

On Election Day

Where do you vote in person?

Where do you vote in person?

In the polling place assigned to the voter's precinct.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-281 [link]

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

What hours are the polls open on Election Day?

7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-541(1) [link]

In the Voting Booth

Can a voter bring children into the voting booth with them?

No state law addresses this question.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Interview with Mississippi Secretary of State's Office [link]

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

Are employers required to give employees time off to vote?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Workplace Fairness: State Laws on Voting Rights [link]

Campaigning, Electioneering, and Recording Devices

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering during early voting/absentee in-person voting?

People cannot post or distribute cards, posters, or other campaign literature within 150 feet of any entrance to a building in which an election is being conducted.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-895 [link]

Are there restrictions on campaigning/electioneering on Election Day?

People cannot post or distribute cards, posters, or other campaign literature within 150 feet of any entrance to a building in which an election is being conducted.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-895 [link]

Can a voter wear a button or t-shirt with a candidate's name or logo on it into the polling place when they vote?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-895 [link]

*NEW 1** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) inside the polling place or voting booth?

Yes, but the use of video equipment in a way that would intimidate is prohibited.

Ballot photography is not expressly addressed in state law, but a voter should not allow his ballot to be seen by any person.

Source (confirmed on: 10/14/2016)

Miss. Code § 23-15-551 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-241 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-245 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-555 [link]

Mississippi Poll Manager Guide Election Day Operations [link]

*NEW 2** Can a voter use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) outside the polling place but within the zone around the polling place where campaigning/electioneering is banned?

State law does not explicitly address this issue (see previous answer).

Who's at the Polls?

Can persons other than election workers observe inside the polls?

Yes.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-571 [link]

What are observers inside the polls called in the state?

The generic term is "poll watcher." The term "representative" is sometimes used to refer to poll watchers appointed by a candidate. (Sometimes, poll watchers are also called "challengers," but other people can make challenges - see section below on "Voter ID and Challenges".)

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-577 representative) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-245 (challenger) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-571 (poll watcher) [link]

Mississippi Poll Manager Guide, p. 5 (poll watcher) [link]

Does the state establish requirements to observe inside the polls?

In general and special elections, each political party can appoint 2 poll watchers to each polling place where the political party has a candidate on the ballot. In all elections, each candidate can appoint 1 poll watcher to each polling place where the candidate appears on the ballot. Poll watchers must show poll managers identification and written documentation that they've been appointed by a candidate or party. Poll watchers appointed by a political party must be people of good conduct and behavior.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-577 (candidate poll watchers) [link]

Mississippi Poll Manager Guide, p. 5 (generally) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-245 (party poll watchers) [link]

*NEW 3* Can a poll observer use a digital or recording device (such as a cell phone or camera) in the polling place?

State law does not address this issue. Local practices may vary.

Are there other rules on what poll observers can or cannot do?

Poll watchers can observe the conduct of the election and challenge voters' right to vote. Poll watchers cannot interfere with the election process, greet voters, or influence voters.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-571 [link]

Mississippi Poll Manager Guide, p. 5 [link]

Provisional Voting and Voters at the Wrong Polling Place

When should a voter be offered a provisional ballot?

Under Section 203 of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, if a person claims to be a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which the person desires to vote and the person claims to be eligible to vote in a federal election, but the person’s name does not appear on the official list of eligible voters for the polling place or an election official asserts that the person is not eligible to vote, then that person must be permitted to cast a provisional ballot at that polling place. The person may cast the provisional ballot after executing, before an election official at the polling place, a written affirmation stating that the person is (1) a registered voter in the jurisdiction, and (2) eligible to vote in that election.

Additionally, any person who votes in a federal election as a result of a federal or state court order, or any other order extending the time established for closing the polls by a state law in effect 10 days before the date of that election, may only vote in that election by casting a provisional ballot. Any such ballot cast must be separated and held apart from other provisional ballots cast for different reasons.

Under state law, a voter should be offered a provisional ballot (also called an "affidavit ballot") if they state that they are qualified to vote in the election but one of the following circumstances applies:

  • The voter has registered to vote, but the voter's name does not appear in the poll book; or
  • The voter believes they were illegally denied the ability to register to vote; or
  • The voter is casting their vote during a court-ordered extension of the election; or
  • The voter does not show acceptable photo ID; or
  • Within 30 days before the election, the voter moved to a new ward or voting precinct in the same municipality or county, and the voter is voting in their new ward or voting precinct.
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

52 U.S.C. § 21082 (federal law) [link]

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-16-4.1 (photo ID) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563(3) (photo ID) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-13 (moving) [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-573 (name not appearing on poll book, court orders, illegally denied registration) [link]

If a voter casts a provisional ballot at the wrong precinct, will the ballot be counted?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-13 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-573) [link]

Interview with Mississippi Secretary of State's Office [link]

Following up on a provisional ballot

A person who does not show acceptable photo ID when voting must go to the registrar's office within 5 days after they cast their ballot and either show acceptable photo ID to the registrar or sign an affidavit affirming they have a religious objection to having their photograph taken.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563(3) [link]

Finding out if a provisional ballot was counted

Voters should request information from poll managers on how to access the registrar's system that tells voters whether their affidavit ballot was counted and, if not, the reason it was not.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563(6) [link]

Ballot Shortages/Voting Machine Malfunctions

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a polling place runs out of printed ballots? Are handwritten/photocopied ballots allowed?

Only printed ballots can be used in primary elections, and poll managers should attempt to obtain more printed ballots if there is a shortage.

In all other elections, if there is a ballot shortage and there is not enough time for election commissioners to print and deliver additional official ballots to the polling place, then handwritten ballots may be used. Poll managers can create the handwritten ballots, or alternatively, a voter can handwrite their own ballot.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 25-15-371 (other elections) [link]

Miss. Code § 25-15-333 (primaries) [link]

What is the law or procedure on emergency ballots if a voting machine breaks or malfunctions?

If a voting machine breaks or malfunctions, unofficial ballots that are made to resemble official ballots as much as possible may be used until the machine is fixed or replaced.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-473 [link]

Voter ID and Challenges

Voter ID

Who must show ID to vote?

People voting at the polls on Election Day or voting an absentee ballot in person must show ID. There are two exceptions:

  • People living in a state-licensed care facility who vote in person at a polling place located in the facility do not have to show ID.
  • People with a religious objection to being photographed do not have to show ID, but they must vote an affidavit (provisional) ballot and then go to the registrar's office within 5 days of voting to sign an affidavit affirming their religious objection.

People voting an absentee ballot by mail do not have to show ID, unless they are first-time voters in Mississippi who registered to vote by mail and did not provide the necessary ID when registering (see question below for further information on first time voters).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-16-6.2 (care facility residents) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563 (general requirements and religious objections) [link]

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-16-7.1 (exemption for most absentee by mail voters) [link]

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-16-7.2. (exemption for most absentee by mail voters) [link]

Are there any special requirements for first-time voters?

First-time voters in Mississippi who are voting an absentee ballot by mail must provide a copy of an ID with their ballot if (1) they registered to vote by mail, and (2) did not provide one of the following forms of identification with their voter registration application:

  • A Mississippi driver's license number, state ID card number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number (written on the voter registration application in the appropriate place); or
  • A copy of a current and valid photo ID; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

If a first-time voter in Mississippi did not include one of the above forms of ID with their voter registration application, they submitted their application by mail, then they must include a copy of one of the following forms of ID with their absentee ballot:

  • A copy of a current and valid photo ID; or
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

If the voter does not include this ID with their absentee ballot, then their ballot will be treated as an affidavit ballot (also known as a provisional ballot). If the voter is eligible to vote and filled out their absentee ballot application, absentee ballot, and absentee ballot certification correctly, then their ballot will be still counted even though they never provided ID. The voter will not need to follow up to provide ID to the regisrar to have their ballot counted.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-10-5.3 [link]

52 U.S.C. § 21083(b)(2) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563 [link]

What ID is acceptable?

If a voter is casting their ballot in person at the polls on Election Day or casting an absentee ballot in person, they must show a current and valid photo ID. Such photo IDs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A current and valid Mississippi driver's license or identification card issued by the Mississippi government;
  • An official Mississippi Voter Identification Card;
  • A current and valid United States passport;
  • A current and valid employee identification card containing a photo of the voter and issued by the federal government, the Mississippi government, or a local government in Mississippi.
  • A current and valid Mississippi license to carry a pistol or revolver;
  • A valid tribal identification card containing a photo of the voter
  • A current and valid United States military identification card;
  • A current and valid student identification card, so long as it contains a photo of the voter and was issued by an accredited college, university, or community or junior college in Mississippi.

For an ID to be "current," it must either (1) have no issue date, or (2) have an issue date that is no more than 10 years old.

Additionally, the photo on the ID must fairly depict the voter's appearance, and the name on the ID must be substantially similar to the voter's name as it appears in the poll book.

Different ID requirements apply to certain first-time voters who are voting an absentee ballot by mail (see previous question).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Admin. Code 1-16-4.1 [link]

Miss. Admin. Code 1-16-1.1 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563 [link]

Is a student ID an acceptable form of identification?

Yes. For voters casting an absentee ballot in person or voting at the polls on Election Day, a student ID is acceptable so long as it is a current and valid student identification card, contains a photo of the voter, and was issued by an accredited college, university, or community or junior college in Mississippi.

For those first-time voters voting an absentee ballot by mail who are required to provide a copy of an ID (see question above about first-time voters), a student ID is acceptable even if it does not have a photo of the student, but it must have been issued a public school or college (not a private one), it must be current, and it must contain the voter's address.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

52 U.S.C. § 21083(b)(2) [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563 [link]

Does the address on the ID have to match the address at which the voter is registered?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-10-5.3 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563 [link]

If a voter has no ID, are there alternatives such as an oath or witness?

Voters casting an absentee ballot in person or voting at the polls on Election Day who do not provide an acceptable photo ID can vote an affidavit ballot (also known as a provisional ballot). For the ballot to count, such voters must go to the registrar's office within 5 days of voting and show the registrar an adequate photo ID.

Additionally, voters who have a religious objection to having their photograph taken can vote an affidavit ballot. For the ballot to count, such voters must go to the registrar's office with 5 days of voting and sign an affidavit affirming their religious objection.

Finally, those first-time voters in Mississippi who are voting an absentee ballot by mail and are required to provide a copy of ID with their ballot (see the question above concerning first-time voters for more information) can mail their ballot in without the ID and their ballot will be treated as an affidavit ballot. So long as the voter is eligible to vote and completed the absentee ballot application, absentee ballot, and abstentee ballot certificate correctly, their ballot will count. The voter will not need to follow up or provide ID to the registrar.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-10-5.3 [link]

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563(3) [link]

Do elections without federal offices on the ballot (such as off-year gubernatorial elections) have different ID requirements?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-563 [link]

Challenges to Voters at the Polling Place

Who can challenge a voter at the polling place?

Any of the following people may challenge a voter:

  • Any registered voter in the precinct
  • Any poll manager
  • Any poll watcher
  • Any candidate whose name is on the ballot in the precinct
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-571 [link]

What are the allowed reasons on which a voter can be challenged at the polling place?

A person can be challenged on the following grounds:

  • The person is not a registered voter in the precinct
  • The person is not the registered voter they claim to be
  • The person has already voted in the election
  • The person does not live in precinct where they are registered
  • The person has illegally registered to vote
  • The person has removed their ballot from the polling place
  • The person is otherwise disqualified by law
  • The person has cast an absentee ballot but is ineligible to do so
Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-571 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-643 [link]

Is there a requirement for the challenger to provide cause or evidence?

The challenger cannot make a frivolous challenge or make a challenge in bad faith.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-579 [link]

How does a voter defend their eligibility to vote if they are challenged?

To determine whether to accept a challenge, poll managers can accept and consider evidence, including statements made by the voter, official documentary evidence, and indubitable oral evidence. If the poll managers unanimously agree that the evidence is sufficient to accept the challenge, the voter's ballot will not be counted. Otherwise, the voter's ballot will be counted as though no challenge was made.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-579 [link]

What are the restrictions on polling place challenges?

Challenges are permitted at the polls on Election Day.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-571 [link]

State and Local Election Officials

The State Election Authority

Who/what is the state election authority?

Secretary of State

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-211.1 [link]

Current official

Delbert Hosemann

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Sec. of State's Website: About Delbert [link]

E-mail

You can use the online form to e-mail the Elections Division by clicking [here]http://www.sos.ms.gov/Pages/MailForm.aspx?m=A6FB9F9C-763F-4D90-84E2-CC1B7827EEC5).

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Sec. of State's Website: Email Elections [link]

Phone

601-576-2550

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Sec. of State's Website: Elections and Voting [link]

Address

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 136
Jackson, MS 39205-0136

Physical Address:
Heber Ladner Building
401 Mississippi Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39205

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Sec. of State's Website: Elections and Voting [link]

Local Election Authorities

What local election official(s) are in charge of major state-level elections (such as the even-year November general elections)?

Usually the county's Board of Election Commissioners, which also appoints a County Registrar to oversee voter registration. In counties without a Board of Election Commissioners, the county's Board of Supervisors oversee elections instead.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-215 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-223 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-213 [link]

What is the county-level election official?

Usually the county's Board of Election Commissioners, which also appoints a County Registrar to oversee voter registration. In counties without a Board of Election Commissioners, the county's Board of Supervisors oversee elections instead.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-215 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-223 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-213 [link]

What is the municipal-level election official?

Municipal Election Commission. Additionally, the municipality's clerk serves as a deputy registrar under the County Registrar.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code § 23-15-221 [link]

Miss. Code § 23-15-223 [link]

Contact information for local election authorities

Click here.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Sec. of State's Website: County Election Information [link]

The Voter File

Voter File Basics

National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Disclosure Law

Section 8 of the federal NVRA requires that each State maintain for at least 2 years and make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters, except to the extent that such records contain information about a person declining to register to vote or information about the identity of a voter registration agency through which a particular voter might have chosen to register.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

52 U.S.C. § 20507 [link]

Acquiring a Voter File

Under state procedure, who may acquire a voter file?

Any person.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-165(6) [link]

Who is the state-level contact for acquiring a voter file?

Secretary of State

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-165 [link]

How much does the state charge for the file?

No more than the actual cost of reproduction.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Code. § 23-15-165 [link]

What format is the file available in?

CSV (comma separated value) text file format.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Interview with Mississippi Secretary of State's Office [link]

Use of the Voter File

Does the state have restrictions on commercial use of the voter file?

Yes. Voter registration data cannot be used for the purpose of mailing or delivering any solicitation for money, services, or anything of value.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-10-7.2 [link]

Does the state have restrictions on non-commercial use of the voter file?

No.

Source (confirmed on: 2016-05-05)

Miss. Admin. Code § 1-10-7.2 [link]