Hosemann proposes election changes

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 21, 2016

EXERCISING RIGHT TO VOTE: Pictured, Marcie Schrock votes during the 2015 general election in November at Chimney Square. File photo.

EXERCISING RIGHT TO VOTE: Pictured, Marcie Schrock votes during the 2015 general election in November at Chimney Square. File photo.

Tuesday, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann released a proposed complete revision of Mississippi’s election laws.
According to a release from the Secretary of State’s office, Hosemann’s Election Code Study Group advocates strengthening, updating and reorganizing Mississippi’s election laws.
If implemented, the updates will bring the state’s laws up to date with current election procedures and technology, the release states.
Some key proposed changes include the consolidation of election crime Chapter 13, Title 97 of Mississippi Code and updating penalties to match fines and sentences applied to other felonies and misdemeanors, the release states.
Another key proposed change involves online voter registration, which will allow U.S. citizens who are residents of Mississippi and possess a driver’s license or state issued identification card to register electronically, the release states.
According to the release, the secretary of state also recommends the creation of a 21-day no excuse voting period for citizens to cast their ballot before election day and will only be conducted at the county courthouse during pre-election period. Registered voters would be able to cast a final vote during the pre-election period.
Another proposed change involves financial disclosure to voters. This would involve moving the deadline for political committees to file a statement of organization from ten days after receiving or spending funds, to 48-hours after spending or receiving funds, the release states. This move would attempt to increase transparency by requiring filers to itemize payments made to credit card issuers, banks or online payment portals and would also place sanctions on those committees who fail to make the appropriate filings with the secretary of state.
The final proposed change outlined in the release is the movement of Mississippi’s presidential primary from the second Tuesday in March to the first Tuesday.
“Following implementation of a voter identification requirement by Mississippians, it is time to address outdated and inefficient election laws which have, in some cases, been on the books for decades. These proposals make it easier to cast your ballot, harder for someone to cheat the electorate and provide severe penalties for those who do. Its goal is to help ensure the integrity of our most precious right to cast a ballot in a free and fair election,” Hosemann said in the release. “This proposed legislation also addressed the voting public’s right to know who is putting mailouts in their mailbox and who is paying for them. This allows the voter to gauge credibility of the publication and the candidates for public office and their supporters to respond.”

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