Mississippians push for early voting for everyone in the state

Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 9:17 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Advocates are pushing for Mississippi voters to have a say-so on whether early voting should be offered to everyone in the state.

It’s part of an early voting initiative. Papers were filed last week to get the ball rolling on this effort.

”I don’t think we should make it that hard for people to vote,” said Mississippi State Representative Hester Jackson McCray who didn’t hold back her frustration when talking about the fact that Mississippi is one of only six states that doesn’t offer early voting for everyone.

Now she along with activist and DeSoto County resident Kelly Jacobs are pushing for the voters to decide.

Their early voting initiative proposal calls for at least 10 days of early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at local county clerks offices.

More than 106,000 signatures are needed to get proposal on the 2023 ballot.

”A ballot initiative takes two years, so we would have one year to collect signatures and it isn’t easy because you have to collect a minimum number of signatures from five different areas in Mississippi,” said Jacobs.

Another big challenge is funding.

”We have an appointment with one attorney and he’s looking out for how we can form a non-for profit group, so that people who want to see Mississippi have early voting can donate and we can hire people we can pay for all the stamps on the envelopes and everything that goes with a successful ballot initiative,” Kelly added.

But not everyone is in favor of the early voting proposal - including Senator Chris McDaniel.

”If you think about transparency and accountability, the best way for people not to question the results of an election is to make sure, when possible, people come down to the courthouse or voting station to vote in-person,” he explained.

Back in November, Governor Tate Reeves took to Twitter to say he will never support early voting or universal mail-in voting in his state.

”I know we are going to have some, as they say, haters, but that’s okay. We are going to pray for them too,” said Jackson.

Right now, Mississippi only allows absentee voting for those who are out-of-town on Election Day, those who are disabled and people over age 65.

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