Lawmakers pass bill to clean inactive voter rolls
Secretary of State candidates take opposing sides on bill passage
Mississippi legislators have passed the conference report for House Bill 1310, which would require county registrars offices to survey their voter rolls every presidential election cycle. The bill, if signed into law by Gov. Tate Reeves, would require voters who have not voted at least once since the primary election in the previous presidential cycle to be placed on inactive status. A letter would then be sent to check and see if the voter is still living at the listed address. The registered voter will then have 4 more years to take action before they are removed from voter rolls.
Inactive voters would be required to cast an affidavit ballot and is also taken out of the jury selection pool.
Republicans were pushing for the bill, including Secretary of State Michael Watson, who commented after the final vote that the bill makes it easier to vote, but harder to cheat at the ballot box.
Meanwhile, Shuwaski Young, the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, said House Bill 1310 is a danger to the sanctity of Mississippians’ right to vote.
“All Mississippians deserve ballot access, and our residents should never be removed from voter rolls because they did not vote in a previous election,” Young said. “Secretary of State Michael Watson and his friends in the state legislature have perfected limiting folks’ access to the ballot – a history Mississippians know all too well.”
In the final vote on the conference report, all three DeSoto County senators, Kevin Blackwell (R-Southaven), Dr. David Parker (R-Olive Branch), and Michael McLendon (R-Hernando), voted in favor of the bill.
Meanwhile in the House of Representatives, DeSoto County’s Republican members voted in favor, but Democrat state Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray (D-Horn Lake) lined up on the opposing side of the bill.
State Rep. Bill Kinkade (R-Byhalia) was among the main sponsors of the bill in the House.