1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Harden (By Request)
Senate Bill 3073
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO IS A U.S. CITIZEN OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND WHO HAS NEVER LIVED IN THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE ELIGIBLE TO REGISTER TO VOTE AND VOTE WHERE SUCH PERSON'S PARENT IS REGISTERED TO VOTE; TO GRANT THE SECRETARY OF STATE EMERGENCY POWERS OVER ELECTIONS UNDER CERTAIN EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES; TO AMEND SECTIONS 23-15-637, 23-15-677, 23-15-685, 23-15-687, 23-15-695 AND 23-15-699, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ABSENTEE BALLOTS RECEIVED BY MAIL THAT HAVE BEEN CAST BY ABSENT ELECTORS UNDER THE ARMED FORCES ABSENTEE BALLOT LAW MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE REGISTRAR BY THE CLOSE OF THE POLLS ON ELECTION DAY; TO PROVIDE THAT ABSENT VOTERS MAY USE A DULY EXECUTED FEDERAL POSTCARD APPLICATION TO REQUEST A BALLOT OR TO REGISTER TO VOTE OR TO DO BOTH SIMULTANEOUSLY UNDER THE ARMED FORCES ABSENTEE BALLOT LAW; TO PROVIDE THAT A REQUEST FOR AN ABSENTEE BALLOT SHALL SERVE AS A REQUEST FOR AN ABSENTEE BALLOT FOR EACH ELECTION HELD WITHIN THE CALENDAR YEAR FOR WHICH THE VOTER IS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE; TO ALLOW NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND PETTY OFFICERS TO ADMINISTER AND ATTEST OATHS UNDER THE ARMED FORCES ABSENTEE BALLOT LAW; TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF ELECTRONIC FACSIMILE DEVICES TO TRANSMIT ABSENTEE BALLOTS, TO RECEIVE VOTED ABSENTEE BALLOTS AND TO RECEIVE COMPLETED FEDERAL POSTCARD APPLICATIONS UNDER THE ARMED FORCES ABSENTEE BALLOT LAW; TO PROVIDE THAT ABSENT VOTERS WHO RESIDE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES OR WHO ARE FAMILY MEMBERS OF A MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES, AND WHO ARE REGISTERED VOTERS IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, MAY USE THE FEDERAL WRITE-IN-ABSENTEE BALLOT UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO REPEAL SECTION 23-15-689, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES THE MANNER IN WHICH PERSONS ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE UNDER THE ARMED SERVICES ABSENTEE VOTERS LAW; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. A United States citizen who is outside the United States, who has never lived in the United States and who has a parent who is registered to vote in the State of Mississippi is eligible to register and vote where his or her parent is registered to vote.
SECTION 2. The Secretary of State may exercise emergency powers over any election being held in a district in which either a natural disaster or extremely inclement weather has occurred. The Secretary of State may also exercise emergency powers during an armed conflict or other military contingencies involving United States Armed Forces, or mobilization of those forces, including state National Guard and Reserve components.
The Secretary of State, as the chief elections official of the state, shall adopt rules describing the emergency powers and the situations in which the powers will be exercised.
SECTION 3. Section 23-15-637, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-637. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, absentee ballots received by mail, excluding presidential ballots as provided for in Sections 23-15-731 and 23-15-733, must be received by the registrar by 5:00 p.m. on the date preceding the election; any received after such time shall be handled as provided in Section 23-15-647 and shall not be counted. All ballots cast by the absent elector appearing in person in the office of the registrar shall be cast not later than 12:00 noon on the Saturday immediately preceding elections held on Tuesday, the Thursday immediately preceding elections held on Saturday, or the second day immediately preceding the date of elections held on other days. The registrar shall deposit all absentee ballots which have been timely cast in the ballot boxes upon receipt.
(2) Absentee ballots received by mail which have been cast by any absent voter as defined by Section 23-15-673 must be received by the registrar by the close of the polls on election day. Such absentee ballots received after the ballot boxes have been sent to the polling places shall be delivered by the registrar to the officials in charge of the election, who shall examine and act on such ballots as near as practicable to the procedures by which election managers act on absentee ballots at the close of polls.
SECTION 4. Section 23-15-677, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-677. All absent voters as defined in Section 23-15-673(1) and (2) may use a duly executed federal postcard application (as provided for in the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 USC 1973 ff et seq.) to request a ballot or to register to vote, or to do both simultaneously.
SECTION 5. Section 23-15-685, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-685. Within forty-five (45) days next prior to any election upon application first made to the registrar of the county by any absent voter as defined in this subarticle, such person shall be sent an absentee voter ballot * * * of the county of which he is a citizen and resident. The registrar shall send to such absent voter a proper absentee voter ballot containing the names of all candidates who qualify or the proposition to be voted upon in such elections, and with such ballot there shall be sent an official envelope containing upon it in printed form the recitals and data hereinafter required.
SECTION 6. Section 23-15-687, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-687. The registrar shall keep all applications for absentee ballots and shall, within twenty-four (24) hours, if possible, send to such absent voter on whose behalf the application is made the proper affidavit and the proper ballot or ballots applicable to the elections. One (1) application shall serve as a request for an absentee ballot for each election held within the calendar year for which the voter is eligible to vote. The registrar shall preserve all applications for absentee voter ballots for one (1) year as a record to be furnished to any court or constituted authority for inspection or evidence if properly called for.
SECTION 7. Section 23-15-695, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-695. Those persons authorized to administer and attest oaths shall be:
(a) Any commissioned officer or noncommissioned officer (NCO) or petty officer in the active service of the armed forces;
(b) Any member of the Merchant Marine of the United States designated for this purpose by the Secretary of Commerce;
(c) The head of any department or agency of the United States;
(d) Any civilian official empowered by state or federal law to administer oaths; or
(e) Any civilian employee designated by the head of any department or agency of the United States.
SECTION 8. Section 23-15-699, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-699. The registrar shall be authorized to use electronic facsimile (FAX) devices to transmit absentee ballots and receive voter absentee ballots, and to receive completed federal postcard applications as described in Section 23-15-677, which shall serve to request absentee ballots or to register to vote or to do both simultaneously.
SECTION 9. An absent voter who resides outside the United States, who is a member of the United States Armed Forces or who is a family member of a member of the armed forces, and who is a registered voter of the State of Mississippi, may use the Federal Write-In-Absentee Ballot as provided for by 42 USC 1973 ff-2 in general, special, primary and run-off elections for local, state and federal offices.
SECTION 10. Section 23-15-689, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides the manner in which persons are registered to vote under the Armed Services Absentee Voters Law, is hereby repealed.
SECTION 11. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi is directed to submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 12. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.