Mississippians may soon be required to vote in elections to maintain their voter registration status. A bill heading to the Governor’s desk would purge voter rolls due to inactivity.
Mississippi legislature passes bill to purge voter rolls
Under the policy outlined in House Bill 1310, county registrars offices must survey their voter rolls every presidential election cycle. If someone has not voted at least once since the primary election in the previous presidential election cycle, they will be placed on inactive status and sent a letter asking if they still live at that location. Republican Representative Brent Powell says the registered voter will then have 4 more years to take action before they are removed from voter rolls.
Rep. Powell says “You have 4 years to respond to that card or show up for jury duty, go vote in a different election, anything to that matter. So effectively you have over 8 years before you would be removed.”
Voters placed on inactive status will not be eligible to vote at their precinct and must cast an affidavit ballot. The list also removes someone from the selection pool for jury duty.
Language of the bill is vague, and some experts are also interpreting it to mean any voter who misses a single election could be placed on inactive status. Democratic Representative Edward Blackmon says it would unjustly take voting rights away from Mississippians.
“People have to go through what amounts to a reregistration process after they have been registered to vote,” says Rep. Blackmon. “I think it’s punitive in nature, and there’s no reason for it other than what Mississippi appears to be satisfied with being; a state that has not learned any lessons from its history and past.”
Once someone is removed from the voter roll, they must register with their county elections office to have their voter status reinstated.