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Responsive Gov’s Grade TL;DR

The Legislature passed two significant anti-voter pieces of legislation this past year, including a bill to purge voters from the registration rolls on the basis of non-voting and a bill that criminalizes ballot handling by anyone other than the voter. And once again, the Legislature failed to restore voting rights to returning citizens. Because of these setbacks and lack of action, Mississippi received a D on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where Mississippi Started at the Beginning of 2023

  • 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 2022, we considered the state a bottom tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2023 activity against other bottom tier states.

How Our Tier Compares

  • COVI (2022): 49th
  • EPI Score (2020): 51st
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 4/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): LOW

2023: This Past Year

Legislative Action

This past session, the Legislature passed bills designed to make it more difficult for voters to return mail ballots and make it easier for registered voters to be removed from the voting rolls.

  • H 1310 requires clerks to send voters address confirmation notices to any voter: that has failed to vote for two federal elections, is flagged by the USPS change of address database, is registered in another state, or otherwise seems to have moved in or out of state. Any voter that is sent a confirmation notice is automatically moved to “inactive” status and then removed from the voter rolls if they fail to respond for 4 years. Any voter on “inactive” status that appears at the polls must vote a provisional ballot. The law also includes a one-time lookback provision to review registration records to find potential noncitizens. And finally, it directs the secretary of state to audit election procedures in every county for the 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2027 general elections.
  • S 2358 makes it a crime for anyone other than family, a household member, or a caregiver of a voter to knowingly collect or transmit the voter’s ballot. The law is currently the subject of an ongoing lawsuit and has been blocked from being enacted for the 2023 primary and general elections.
  • S 2353 increases poll worker pay.
  • The Legislature also once again failed to act to restore voting rights to returning citizens. Instead the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in and struck down the state’s lifetime ban on voting for individuals convicted of certain felonies, although this ruling has been vacated as the entire Fifth Circuit hears the case.