2006 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections
By: Representative Gunn, Fleming
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 23-15-13 AND 23-15-573, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT AFFIDAVIT BALLOTS SHALL SERVE AS A WRITTEN REQUEST TO CHANGE RESIDENCY FOR VOTING PURPOSES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 23-15-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-13. An elector who moves from one (1) ward or voting precinct to another ward within the same municipality or voting precinct within the same county shall not be disqualified to vote, but he or she shall be entitled to have his or her registration transferred to his or her new ward or voting precinct upon either of the following occurrences: (a) the elector makes written request therefor at any time up to thirty (30) days prior to the election at which he or she offers to vote; or (b) he votes by affidavit ballot as provided in Section 23-15-573. In this case, the affidavit ballot, if valid, shall be deemed to be a written request to transfer his or her registration to his or her new ward or precinct, and the circuit clerk shall within thirty (30) days after the election transfer his or her registration to his or her new ward or precinct. Such an affidavit ballot, if valid, shall be counted in the election in which it is cast; however, before counting the ballot in the new precinct, the election commission, or county executive committee in a primary election, shall verify that the elector did not cast a ballot in his or her former precinct.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-573, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-573. (1) If any person declares that he is a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which he offers to vote and that he is eligible to vote in the election, but his name does not appear upon the pollbooks, or that he is not able to cast a regular election day ballot under a provision of state or federal law but is otherwise qualified to vote, or that he has been illegally denied registration:
(a) A poll manager shall notify the person that he may cast an affidavit ballot at the election.
(b) The person shall be permitted to cast an affidavit ballot at the polling place upon execution of a written affidavit before one (1) of the managers of election stating that the individual:
(i) Believes he is a registered voter in the jurisdiction in which he desires to vote and is eligible to vote in the election; or
(ii) Is not able to cast a regular election day ballot under a provision of state or federal law but is otherwise qualified to vote; or
(iii) Believes that he has been illegally denied registration.
(c) The manager shall allow the individual to prepare his vote which shall be delivered by him to the proper election official who shall enclose it in an envelope with the written affidavit of the voter, seal the envelope and mark plainly upon it the name of the person offering to vote.
(2) The affidavit shall include:
(a) The complete name, all required addresses and telephone numbers;
(b) A statement that the affiant believes he is registered to vote in the jurisdiction in which he offers to vote;
(c) The signature of the affiant; and
(d) The signature of a poll manager at the precinct at which the affiant offers to vote.
(3) (a) A separate register shall be maintained for affidavit ballots and the affiant shall sign the register upon completing the affidavit ballot.
(b) In canvassing the returns of the election, the executive committee in primary elections, or the election commissioners in other elections, shall examine the records and allow the ballot to be counted, or not counted as it appears legal.
(4) When a person is offered the opportunity to vote by affidavit ballot, he shall be provided with written information that informs the person how to ascertain whether his affidavit ballot was counted and, if the vote was not counted, the reasons the vote was not counted.
(5) The Secretary of State shall, by rule duly adopted, establish a uniform affidavit and affidavit ballot envelope which shall be used in all elections in this state. The Secretary of State shall print and distribute a sufficient number of affidavits and affidavit ballot envelopes to the registrar of each county for use in elections. The registrar shall distribute the affidavits and affidavit ballot envelopes to municipal and county executive committees for use in primary elections and to municipal and county election commissioners for use in other elections.
(6) County registrars and municipal registrars shall implement a secure free access system that complies with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, by which persons who vote by affidavit ballot may determine if their ballots were counted, and if not, the reasons the ballot was not counted.
(7) Any person who votes in any election as a result of a federal or state court order or other order extending the time established by law for closing the polls, may only vote by affidavit ballot. Any affidavit ballot cast under this subsection shall be separated and kept apart from other affidavit ballots cast by voters not affected by the order.
(8) The uniform affidavit ballot shall be deemed to be a request to transfer registration as provided in Section 23-15-13.
SECTION 3. 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 4. 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.