2004 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Tollison
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 37-7-217 AND 37-7-219, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ELECTORS MAY VOTE BY ABSENTEE BALLOT AT ELECTIONS HELD FOR MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR CERTAIN MUNICIPAL SEPARATE AND SPECIAL MUNICIPAL SEPARATE SCHOOL DISTRICTS; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-637, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-7-217, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-7-217. The qualified electors of each school district operating under Section 37-7-215(1) shall meet at 2 p.m. on the date and at the place specified therein, and the qualified electors of each school district operating under Section 37-7-215(2) shall meet on the date specified therein and at the time and place or places specified by the board of trustees of the school district. At the meeting the electors shall immediately organize by electing a chairman and a secretary of the meeting and shall thereupon proceed to elect the necessary number of trustees by secret written ballot from the list of candidates properly qualified; however, electors who are absent on the day of the election for any reason specified in Section 23-15-713, may vote by absentee ballot as provided by law. If there is an election for a full term and for an unexpired term or terms, the election shall be separately held and conducted. The person elected shall immediately assume the duties of his office for the full term if the election is for the full term, or for the remainder of the unexpired term if the election is for an unexpired term. The superintendent of the municipal separate or special municipal separate school district shall give all absentee ballots that he has received from the county registrar prior to the election as provided by law, to the chairman of the meeting. The chairman and secretary of the meeting shall count the secret written ballots and all absentee ballots cast. Absentee ballots shall be examined and counted in the manner provided for in Section 23-15-639 and the chairman and the secretary shall have the responsibilities given to election managers. Upon counting and tabulating the ballots, the chairman and the secretary at the meeting shall forthwith certify the results of the election to the superintendent of the municipal separate or special municipal separate school district, as the case may be. The certificate shall be delivered to the superintendent within five (5) days following the election. If a person shall not receive a majority of the votes cast upon the first ballot, a runoff shall be held between the two (2) persons receiving the highest number of votes upon such first ballot. The runoff shall be held two (2) weeks thereafter. No trustees' election shall be discontinued or adjourned but * * * shall be completed upon the day specified therefor.
SECTION 2. Section 37-7-219, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-7-219. For the purpose of holding such an election, it shall be the duty of the trustees of the school district whose terms do not expire in that year to prepare from the records in the office of the county registrar a list of the qualified electors of the school district who are eligible to participate in the election. The list shall be furnished to the chairman and secretary of the meeting. A person who is not present at the time and place of holding the election shall be eligible to vote in the election by absentee ballot in the manner provided by law.
SECTION 3. Section 23-15-637, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-637. 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; however, if the election is being conducted pursuant to Section 37-7-217, the registrar shall give the absentee ballots to the superintendent of the school district in which the election is being conducted on the day of the election prior to the time the election is set to begin.
SECTION 4. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall 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 5. 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.