Mississippi elected officials introduce early voting initiative

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Miss., — Just months after one of the most controversial, dramatic elections in United States history, elected officials in Mississippi are trying to change the state’s voting process.

Thursday, an early voting ballot initiative was officially filed in Jackson. It would allow for no fewer than 10 business days of early voting before every election.

“We live in DeSoto County, we always see your news, Channel 3, talking about Memphians voting early,” said Kelly Jacobs, author of the early voting initiative. “People in Mississippi come to me and say, ‘We want to vote early.’”

Advocates for the early voting initiative in Mississippi say the idea began at the grassroots level, as elected officials began speaking with voters more than a year ahead of the 2020 election.

“They said they’ve waited more than 20 years for early voting, and they’re tired of waiting,” said Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray of Mississippi District 40.

But the initiative could face stiff opposition, specifically from the governor himself.

Last November, Governor Tate Reeves sent a tweet, which reads in part, “I will do everything in my power to make sure universal mail-in voting and no-excuse early voting are not allowed in Mississippi.”

“Voting is non-partisan. I’m not trying to tell you who to vote for. I’m just trying to give you more days to go and vote,” Jacobs said.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Mississippi constitution will be amended to allow for the extra voting flexibility, but advocates claim if left to the people, Mississippians will make their desires known.

“People want it! They don’t want to be boxed in to only being able to vote on a Tuesday,” Jacobs said.

Now that the early voting initiative has been registered, a petition will need to gather signatures so that it can appear on a ballot.

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