Mississippi's Chief Elections Official is pushing for a complete overhaul of the state's election code. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says it's time to make voting easier for residents.
Online voter registration, early voting, tougher penalties for those who cheat the elections system, they're all proposals in a 380-page bill that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office is presenting to lawmakers.
Speaking to reporters at a press forum in Jackson yesterday, Hosemann says it's time to build on the success of the state's voter ID laws.
“We built upon the fact that we instituted voter ID,” Hosemann says. “Like everything else, we had to do that in order to be here in our historical nature of Mississippi. We should get a significant reform package out of here. Now there may be changes as the legislature does its good work. That would be fine, but there is no reason not to address it at all.”
A number of Hosemann's proposals stem from a 2014 report produced by a 51-member panel created to look at the state's election laws.
House Election's Committee Chair Bill Denny, a Republican from Madison, was a member of that committee. He says the reforms could see widespread support from lawmakers.
“I feel like it’s going to be a huge bill to go over,” Denny says, “but if we get to the floor, I think we’ll pass some real good laws. There are a lot of things in there that need to be taken out. It’s just wasted paper. There're just many, many other things in there that need to be taken out. Code sections in there that are not relative to the way we vote today, the way the circuit clerks handle it and so forth.”
In addition to revamping the state's election laws, Hosemann says the state needs to reexamine whether some convicted felons should be allowed to vote after they have served their time.