2021 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections; Municipalities
By: Representatives Rushing, Foster, Mickens
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-859, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE ANY MUNICIPALITY WITH A POPULATION OF 2,500 RESIDENTS OR LESS TO CONDUCT A SPECIAL ELECTION FOR ANY ISSUE OR CANDIDATE AT ONE CENTRALIZED POLLING PLACE; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-557, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE PRECEDING SECTION; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-300, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ANY INDIVIDUAL HAVING MET THE TWO-YEAR RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR MUNICIPAL OR COUNTY OFFICE, SHALL ONLY RESIDE IN THE WARD OF DISTRICT OF REPRESENTATION AT THE TIME OF QUALIFYING FOR SUCH OFFICE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 23-15-859, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-859. (1) Whenever under any statute a special election is required or authorized to be held in any municipality, and the statute authorizing or requiring the election does not specify the time within which the election shall be called, or the notice which shall be given, the governing authorities of the municipality shall, by resolution, fix a date upon which the election shall be held. The date shall not be less than twenty-one (21) nor more than thirty (30) days after the date upon which such resolution is adopted, and not less than three (3) weeks' notice of the election shall be given by the clerk by a notice published in a newspaper published in the municipality once each week for three (3) weeks next preceding the date of the election, and by posting a copy of the notice at three (3) public places in the municipality. Nothing herein, however, shall be applicable to elections on the question of the issuance of the bonds of a municipality or to general or primary elections for the election of municipal officers.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3) of this section, the provisions of this section shall be applicable to all municipalities of this state, whether operating under a code charter, special charter or the commission form of government, except in cases of conflicts between the provisions of the section and the provisions of the special charter of a municipality, or the law governing the commission form of government, in which cases of conflict the provisions of the special charter or the statutes relative to the commission form of government shall apply.
(3) Any municipality with a population of two thousand five hundred (2,500) residents or less according to the latest federal decennial census may conduct a special election for any candidate or issue at one (1) centralized polling location. Such polling place may be located at city hall or another location. The notice of the election with the location thereof shall be published in some newspaper published at least once per week in the municipality affected for three (3) weeks preceding the date set for the special election, or if there be no newspaper published in the municipality, then in some newspaper having general circulation in the municipality and by posting notices continuously in three (3) public places in the municipality, one (1) of which shall be city hall or be the regular location where the municipal governing authority meets to conduct business not less than three (3) weeks before the date for the special election. A sign shall be placed in front of each closed precinct of the voting location for election that day.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-557, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-557. Except as otherwise provided in Section 23-15-859(3), the governing authorities of any municipality within the State of Mississippi are hereby authorized and empowered, in their discretion, to divide the municipality into a sufficient number of voting precincts of such size and location as is necessary, and there shall be the same number of polling places. The authority conducting an election shall not be required, however, to establish a polling place in each of said precincts, but such election authorities, whether in a primary or in a general election, may locate and establish such polling places, without regard to precinct lines, in such manner as in the discretion of such authority will better accommodate the electorate and better facilitate the holding of the election.
SECTION 3. Section 23-15-300, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-300. (1) Any candidate for any municipal, county or county district office shall be a resident of the municipality, county, county district or other territory that he or she seeks to represent in such office for two (2) years immediately preceding the day of election. Notwithstanding the foregoing two-year residency requirement for holding a municipal office, a candidate seeking to represent a ward need only be a resident of the municipality for two (2) years prior to the day of the election, but he or she need only be a resident of the ward he or she seeks to represent at the time of qualification of office. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any municipality with less than one thousand (1,000) residents according to the latest federal decennial census.
(2) A candidate shall prove in his or her qualifying information that he or she meets the applicable residency requirement or provide absolute proof, subject to no contingencies, that he or she will meet the residency requirement on or before the date of the election at which the candidate could be elected to office. The appropriate election official or executive committee, whichever is applicable, with whom a candidate files qualifying information shall review and determine whether the candidate meets the applicable residency requirement according to the procedures in Section 23-15-299. The appropriate election commission shall review and determine whether a candidate required to file qualifying information with it meets the applicable residency requirement according to the procedures in Section 23-15-359.
(3) If the qualifications for an elected office include a specific residency requirement, the residency requirement in this section shall not apply.
(4) This section shall apply to elections held from and after January 1, 2020.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.