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Grade TL;DR

Over the last two years, Mississippi did not further any pro-voter initiatives. In 2021, the Legislature failed to pass any significant voting legislation, but it did reject a number of anti-voter laws, which is a small victory given Mississippi’s existing anti-voter climate. In 2022, the Legislature enacted a ban on private funding for elections, but also passed restoration of rights for disenfranchised individuals whose convictions were expunged, giving them a clear path to vote. Unfortunately, the governor vetoed the restoration of rights bill. Given that no anti-voter measures were passed in 2021, and in 2022 the Legislature attempted to restore voting rights to returning citizens and only a few anti-voter changes were passed, Mississippi received a C on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Mississippi Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: No
  • Same-Day Registration: No
  • Restoration of Rights: Some Lifetime Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: Excuse-Only
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: No
  • Early Voting Opportunities: No
  • ID Requirements: Strict Photo ID

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for Mississippi as of 2020, we considered the state a bottom tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other bottom tier states.

How Our Tier Compares:

  • COVI (2020): 47th
  • EPI Score (2020): 51st
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 4/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): LOW

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

  • Although the Mississippi Legislature did not pass any significant election-related laws during the 2021 session, it did successfully reject several versions of voter list purge legislation, which would have set up an inefficient and expensive system for removing voters from the rolls based on failure to vote or prove citizenship.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

In 2022, the Mississippi Legislature enacted new laws that further restricted the election administration process. The Legislature also attempted to restore voting rights for some of the state’s disenfranchised citizens.

  • H 1365 prohibits election officials from accepting private funding for all election related expenses and any voter education, voter outreach, or voter registration programs.
  • H 1510 requires registered voters that are flagged as non-citizens by both the state DMV and federal SAVE database to provide proof of citizenship to their local election official. Although prior versions of this legislation targeted a much broader range of registrants for proof of citizenship, the final version contains a more thoughtful approach.

Executive Action

  • Unfortunately, Governor Reeves vetoed S 2536, which would have provided disenfranchised individuals whose convictions were expunged a clear path to regain their right to vote. In vetoing the legislation, Reeves described the historically discriminatory practice of felon disenfranchisement as “an animating principle of the social contract at the heart of every great republic.”