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Recent rulings that Texas' voting laws discriminate put pressure on the state, but the road ahead is long
04/24/17 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 01:00

Lawmakers are trying to pass a bill to address the discriminatory issues found with the voter ID law. But Democrats say it falls short of meeting the standards that a district court set last year.

Plaintiffs want District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi to consider throwing out the law after the legislative session and returning the state to the federal government's "pre-clearance" list.

But even if that happened, the Texas attorney general's office would almost certainly challenge the decision in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. ...

The parties in the [redistricting] case are set to meet in San Antonio on Thursday. The three-judge panel will hear updates on whether a trial is needed and what a timeline for the rest of the case might look like.

But the panel has moved slowly and methodically throughout the case for over six years. It is unlikely to grant the plaintiffs' requests — for new congressional maps for the 2018 elections and federal oversight — before tackling other remaining issues, such as whether the 2013 interim maps were also discriminatory.

And even if the court sided with the plaintiffs in a trial and struck down the maps, Texas could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court — dragging out the case even longer.

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Mississippi Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: October 8, 2016

For more information, visit the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website.

Election Day: The polls must be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. central time on Election Day. As long as a voter is in line at the polling place by 7:00 p.m., he or she is entitled to vote. Mississippi does not permit in-person early voting.

How to Find Your Polling Place: Visit the Mississippi Secretary of State’s polling place locator web page.


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines:  Mississippi does not offer same-day registration. You must register 30 days prior to the General Election. The deadline for this year’s General Election is Saturday, October 8.

How to Check Your Registration: Contact your County’s Circuit Clerk or call 866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to register in Mississippi, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Be at least 18 years old by the General Election;
  • Have resided in Mississippi and your county for at least 30 days;
  • NOT be convicted of a specified disenfranchising felony in Mississippi; and
  • NOT be declared mentally incompetent by a court.

How to Register: In Mississippi, you can register to vote by mail and in person.

By Mail: In order to register by mail, download and complete a Mississippi Voter Registration Application form, print the form, sign and date the form, and mail it to your Circuit Clerk’s Office.  

In Person: You may register to vote in person at any of the following locations: Circuit Clerk’s Office, Municipal Clerk’s Office, Department of Public Safety, or Department of Human Services.

Identification Required for Registration:

For mail-in applications, if you do not provide your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number, you must send with your application either a copy of a current and valid photo ID or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck that shows your name and address.

When registering in person, you should bring a current and valid photo ID or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck that shows your name and address. 

If You Want to Vote Early

Mississippi does not have regular early voting, but voters who qualify for absentee voting may vote absentee in person at their local elections office (usually the Circuit Clerk) before Election Day.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

A voter may cast an absentee ballot if he or she is:

  • An enlisted or commissioned member of the U.S. armed forces;
  • A disabled war veteran currently in the hospital;
  • A civilian serving with the U.S. armed forces outside of the country;
  • A citizen of Mississippi temporarily residing outside of the U.S.;
  • A student, teacher, or administrator who is absent from her county due to his or her studies or employment;
  • A member of the Mississippi congressional delegation, or employees of these members, absent from Mississippi on Election Day;
  • A voter who is outside the county on Election Day;
  • A voter with a temporary or permanent disability;
  • A voter who is 65 years old or older;
  • A voter who is the parent, spouse, or dependent of someone with a disability who is hospitalized in a different county more than 50 miles away (as long as the voter will be with that person on Election Day);
  • A voter who is required to be at work on Election Day during the time at which the polls will be open. 


  • The Deadline for absentee ballot requests varies by county. Voters should contact their Circuit Clerks for the most up to date information. A list of Circuit Clerk phones numbers by county can be found at https://courts.ms.gov/trialcourts/circuitcourt/circuitclerks.pdf.
  • Absentee ballots cast by mail must be received by the registrar by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 7, 2016. Absentee ballots cast in person must be cast not later than noon on the Saturday, November 5, 2016 at the county Circuit Clerk’s office, which will be open from 8am to noon.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot: To cast a regular ballot, a Mississippi voter must present a valid form of photo identification.

Valid Forms of Photo ID:

  • Mississippi Driver’s License;
  • US Passport;
  • Photo ID card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Mississippi;
  • Photo employee ID card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the US Government;
  • Mississippi firearms license, with photo;
  • Tribal photo ID card;
  • US Military photo ID card;
  • Photo ID card issued by any accredited Mississippi college, university, community college, or junior college; 
  • Photo ID issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the US government or any state government, such as a driver’s license issued by a state other than Mississippi;
  • Mississippi Voter Identification Card

Mississippi Voter Identification Card: If a registered voter does not have any other acceptable forms of photo ID, a voter can obtain a free Mississippi Voter Identification Card by bringing a piece of identifying documentation to any Circuit Clerk’s office in Mississippi.

ID Expiration: A voter may use an expired photo ID as long as it is one of the above-listed acceptable forms of photo ID and is not more than 10 years old.

Address on ID: The address on the photo ID does not have to match the address on the voter rolls.

Lack of Valid Photo ID: A registered voter who does not have valid identification is still entitled to vote by a provisional Affidavit Ballot.

VoteRiders has created Mississippi voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

Moving within the Same County

If you moved within the same county and have not re-registered with that address, you can vote with a provisional Affidavit Ballot. If you moved within the same voter precinct your polling place will have remained the same. If you moved within the county to a different voter precinct, you should go the polling place for your new address.

Affidavit Ballots

An “affidavit” in this case means a statement by the voter swearing that he or she believes that he or she is registered to vote in the jurisdiction in which he or she is attempting to vote. After voting by provisional Affidavit Ballot because of a recent move, a Poll Manager will place the Affidavit Ballot in an envelope. The affidavit is printed and written on the envelope itself. The affidavit envelope must include: the name of the voter, the voter’s address (current and previous if moved), telephone number (if the voter has one), the signature of the voter, and the signature of one of the Poll Managers

The Poll Manager must give the voter written instructions on how to ascertain if his or her Affidavit Ballot was counted. A provisional Affidavit Ballot may be rejected for the following reasons: the voter is not a registered voter of the county, failure of the voter and Poll Manager to both sign the affidavit envelope, or the voter casting a ballot in a precinct in which he/she is not entitled to vote.

Moving Between Counties

If you moved to a different county more than 30 days before the General Election and have not re-registered with that address, you cannot vote. If you moved to a different county within 30 days of the General Election and have not re-registered with that address, you may still vote for President in your original voter precinct.

Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA): Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for U.S. citizens residing outside of the U.S. and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Merchant Marine and their family members.

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Military and overseas citizen voters may use the standard procedures discussed above for voter registration and for absentee voting by mail.

Military and overseas voters may also use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote, to request absentee ballots, or to register to vote and request absentee ballots simultaneously. FPCA registration and requests for absentee ballots can be done via email, fax, or mail. Voters registering using the FPCA must email, fax, or postmark their applications 10 days prior to the General Election (October 29, 2016).

For more information visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) Mississippi-specific FPCA page or the Mississippi Secretary of State’s UOCAVA page.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may receive their absentee ballots by email, fax, or mail by specifying their preference using the appropriate check box on the FPCA. Mississippi must send UOCAVA voters their absentee ballots at least 45 days prior to the election.

Absentee ballots may be voted be mail, fax, or email. To email or fax your election materials, use the Electronic Transmission cover sheet and email or fax the cover sheet and ballot to your county’s Circuit Clerk UOCAVA contact.  The deadline for receipt of absentee ballots by the Circuit Clerk is 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by UOCAVA voters. Military personnel and overseas voters who request an absentee ballot, but do not receive the absentee ballot in time for the ballot to be returned in time to be counted, may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB).

Your FWAB must be received by your local voting officials in Mississippi no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.  For specific instructions, visit the FVAP’s Mississippi-specific FWAB page.  

If you have been convicted in Mississippi for a disenfranchising crime, you cannot vote. The disenfranchising crimes are vote fraud, murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretense, perjury, forgery, embezzlement, bigamy, armed robbery, extortion, felony bad check, felony shoplifting, larceny, receiving stolen property, robbery, timber larceny, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, and unlawful carjacking.

If a voter has not been convicted of one of the above crimes in Mississippi, he or she may vote.

Even if a voter has been convicted of a similar offense in another state or a federal felony, he or she can still vote.


Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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Election Information for your state