/Second lawsuit filed to ease Mississippi’s voting restrictions during COVID-19 pandemic

Second lawsuit filed to ease Mississippi’s voting restrictions during COVID-19 pandemic

While most states allow early voting by mail or in person, Mississippi voters have to give an excuse. For example, if they are away for the election, this can be used as an excuse. Mississippi is one of the most difficult states in the country to vote early because of its existing law. Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit in federal court for Southern District of Mississippi for state residents and organizations. They claim that the state’s absentee voting regulations are unconstitutional as they could compromise the health of citizens who tried to vote during the COVID-19 epidemic. The suit was brought against Lynn Fitch and Secretary of State Michael Watson. In a press release, Jennifer Nwachukwa (counsel at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law) stated that Mississippi has some of most restrictive burdens regarding absentee voting in the country. She said this in a statement. “A record number of voters are expected to vote this fall in the face of the ongoing pandemic. However, election officials have failed take any action to ensure that every voter across Mississippi has a voice. We have weeks before the November election and we are now turning to the court for help. Mississippi has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases per person in the country, but it is also one of six states that “does not allow legitimate fear of COVID-19 to be used as an excuse to request an absence ballot.” According to the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, Mississippi’s laws and regulations are not in compliance with federal Centers for Disease Control and Preventions guidelines that were created to ensure voter safety. According to the lawsuit, Watson, the chief elections officer of the state, didn’t rule that the changes made earlier in the year by the Legislature would allow coronavirus-scared voters to vote early by mail or in person. Watson stated that he awaits an official opinion by Attorney General Fitch’s on how the new legislation will affect early voting during the pandemic. According to the lawsuit, voters are more at risk due to the state requirement that both the application for an absentee vote and the ballot must be notarized. They will need to leave their home twice to find an official who can notarize them. According to the lawsuit, the issues raised in the suit are similar to the ones that were filed earlier this month in a state court case by the Mississippi Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a group of Mississippians concerned with voter safety.