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Report finds Mississippi only state not offering voting options due to coronavirus pandemic
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Voter sanitizing hands after voting in Ridgeland, March, 2020
AP/Rogelio V. Solis

A newly released report finds Mississippi is the only state in the nation that hasn’t expanded voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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A report by the Democracy Initiative called "Roadblocks and Remedies-the State of Voting," found every state is offering early or mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mississippi is the exception. In the state those quarantined by a doctor can vote absentee as well as others with a limited number of unrelated excuses. But no additional accommodations are being made. Wendy Fields is with the organization.

“People should call their governor and ask them why and say can you make adjustments. It’s a public health crisis. On election day, do we really want to see people standing next to each other for hours and hours? I think that’s what we should be saying,” said Fields.

Several civil rights organizations filed lawsuits over the issue. The Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with the lower court in a state case brought by the Mississippi Center for Justice. People with pre-existing conditions who would become severely ill if they contracted COVID 19 can vote absentee. A federal lawsuit filed by groups including the NAACP is still in the courts. It would remove some absentee voting requirements. Corey Wiggins with the state NAACP is concerned about efforts to suppress voting.

“Some people throw out rhetoric about voting by mail is full of fraud or voting early is fraudulent. All these types of things without a whole lot of proof. And so you’ve got citizens, everyday citizens who are trying to cut through the stuff to figure out like what my experience is going to be like when it’s time to vote,” said Wiggins.

Wendy Fields says it’s not too late for Mississippians to contact the governor and elected officials to demand early voting.