Excuses for not voting are vanishing

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2016

To vote, a citizen must properly register. Getting registered and keeping that information current becomes easier each election as technology makes the system more user-friendly.

The latest innovation is Y’all Vote, an Internet site that lets Mississippi registered voters make changes to their registration information.

The new site, at www.yallvote.sos.ms.gov, was launched last week as part of National Voter Registration Month, a voter education campaign by the National Association of Secretaries of State.

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Y’all Vote lets registered voters change their address or name on their county’s voter rolls without having to pay a visit to a county courthouse, or even a make a trip to the post office.

Getting registered the first time is easy, too.

In Mississippi, eligible citizens can visit the circuit clerk’s office in person to register or download a form from the Secretary of State’s Office and mail or hand-deliver it to the circuit clerk’s office in their home county.

Time is of the essence. The general election is Nov. 8, so by law, new Mississippi voters must register no later than Oct. 8.

This election year, that’s a Saturday, and circuit clerk’s offices will be open statewide until noon that day, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Mississippi has more than 1.8 million registered voters, representing more than 80 percent of the eligible voting-age population.

That’s one of the highest rates of registration in the country, a fact in which Mississippi should take great pride.

But that still leaves almost 1 in 5 potential voters on the sidelines. Their votes, or the lack of them, might be enough to affect the outcome.

Technology might make the path of getting to the polls easier, but the hard choices inside the voting booth are ultimately each individual’s.