/Mississippi trailing most states in making elections safer

Mississippi trailing most states in making elections safer

Mississippians will no longer be required to risk their lives to vote. However, the current state laws make voting dangerous if COVID-19 remains a threat to Mississippians in November, when they go to the polls for a president, U.S senator, and other officeholders. Mississippi has some the most restrictive voting laws in the country. Represent Us, a national non profit promoting mail-in voter registration, says Mississippi is one of six states that have not taken any steps to make it safer for voters if the coronavirus remains a threat in November. Philip Gunn, the House Speaker, and Delbert Hosemann, the Lt. Governor. Delbert Hosemann is the Senate’s Speaker. He has said that the topic of voter safety will be discussed in the coming days, weeks, and days. Federal funds have been provided to the state in order to ensure a safe election. Hosemann and Gunn say all options are open to them. They have not yet provided any details. The safety measures will include providing personal protection equipment to poll workers, cleaning the entire voting precinct of voting machines and poll books, and restricting the number of precinct members. Many fear that if these are the only changes made, there will be long lines and inconveniences for a presidential race where over a million Mississippians vote. It is possible that mistakes could still be made and lead to the spread of coronavirus. Other states have taken more drastic measures. For the upcoming primary elections in Georgia, the Republican secretary sent requests for absentee votes to all registered voters. The document can be returned by voters, who will then receive a ballot to vote by mail. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that about three-fifths of states do not allow mail voting and four-fifths allow in-person early voting. Mississippi is not one of those states. Only people who have been away from their homes for extended periods of time can vote by mail in Mississippi. This includes college students and military personnel. The elderly and disabled may also vote by mail. Voting can be done in person by those who are not at home on Election Day (e.g., on vacation, for work). Senator David Blount (D-Jackson), who was previously involved in election issues while working for the Secretary of State’s Office, has been long a supporter of Mississippians having no-excuse access to early voting. Blount stated that the Legislature should take at least some steps this year in order to provide Mississippians with safe voting options, even if there is a pandemic. These safer options could include something similar to what Georgia did for its primary. It allowed anyone to vote by post and made it easy by sending them an application form for absentee ballot. Georgians have the option to request an absentee vote via the secretary of state’s website. Another option is to allow voters to vote in person. Blount suggested that the number of places where people can vote early in person should be increased, rather than just the one at the courthouse. Five locations could be set up in each county, one in each of the supervisory districts. This could reduce the number of people waiting in long lines for Election Day. Jim Beckett (R-Bruce), House Elections Chair, said that he does not rule out expanding early voter registration, but that he prefers to find ways to ensure the safety of precincts on Election Day. Republican Secretary of State Michael Watson endorsed the Legislature’s expansion of in-person voting options, not mail-in voting, if there is still an emergency pandemic. In a comment he sent to state media outlets, Watson stated that this was not an attempt to implement early voting. It is a temporary solution to allow those most at risk for contracting COVID-19 to exercise their rights to vote. Watson and other members of the Republican establishment believe mail-in voting is a way to commit fraud. Many states have a different opinion. According to a poll by Mississippi-based Chism Strategies for Jackson’s Millsaps College, 54% of Mississippians think people should be allowed to “safely vote by mail this November”, while 70% fear an election disruption. There have been many election disruptions in Mississippi, at least when it comes to voting._x000D