Early voting

People line up during first day of early voting in the 2020 presidential election.

(The Center Square) – A pair of Mississippi representatives have introduced legislation to allow for early voting in the state.

State Rep. Orlando Paden, D-Bolivar, and Rep. Zakiya Summers, D-Hinds, have introduced the Early Voting Act, House Bill 22, which would establish early voting measures and enforcements in the state for all elections.

The bill has been referred to the House Apportionment and Elections Committee. Passage requires a majority vote and would go into effect July 1, 2024.

Summers said on her campaign website that one of her main legislative goals is to expand voter access in the state.

“Democracy cannot work unless everyone has the power to use their voice at the ballot box,” Summers said. “Our government must be transparent and accountable to the people it represents. I will fight for measures that make it easier, not harder for people to vote, including online voter registration, no-excuse early voting, and voter registration."

According to the bill, if passed, it would establish early voting six days before the date of the election and would continue through the last regular business day preceding the election.

Early voting, the bill reads, would be implemented for each primary, general, runoff, special, and municipal election for public office in the state.

Under the bill, if approved, hours would be set for early voting to be conducted during regular business hours. In addition, notice of early voting would be posted in three public places eight days before voting begins.

The bill would set procedures to be followed when voters are casting a ballot during the early election period and would also provide a manner for challenging the qualification of a voter during that period.

Voters having to show an acceptable form of photo identification in order to cast their vote during early voting hours, under the bill. An early voter would also have to sign the receipt book upon validation of photo identification.

The bill would also mandate that any votes cast during early election periods must be counted the day of the election when results are posted from precincts, and the Secretary of State would set the rules and regulations affecting early voting.

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.