2021 Regular Session
To: Apportionment and Elections
By: Representatives Eubanks, Barnett
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATEWIDE ELECTIONS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM SHALL BE COMPARED TO THE IDENTIFICATION DATABASES TO ENSURE NON-UNITED STATES CITIZENS ARE NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE; TO PROVIDE THE NOTIFICATION REQUIRED WHEN A NON-UNITED STATES CITIZEN IS FOUND TO BE REGISTERED TO VOTE; TO PROVIDE THE DOCUMENTATION THAT MUST BE SUBMITTED AS PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-165, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE PRECEDING SECTION; TO REPEAL SECTION 23-15-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES THE DOCUMENTATION THAT A NATURALIZED CITIZEN MUST PRESENT IN ORDER TO REGISTER TO VOTE OR TO VOTE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Statewide Elections Management System shall be compared with the state's identification databases to ensure non-United States citizens are not registered to vote in this state. The Secretary of State is authorized to enter into a memorandum of understanding to compare the Statewide Elections Management System with relevant federal and state agencies and county records for the same purpose. If evidence exists that a particular registered voter is not a citizen of the United States, the Statewide Elections Management System shall notify the registrar, or his or her designee, where the person registered to vote that the registered voter may not be a citizen of the United States.
(2) After receiving the notice from the Statewide Elections Management System as provided in subsection (1) of this section, the registrar, or his or her designee, shall send a notice to the registered voter inquiring whether the individual is eligible to be registered to vote. Any registered voter who receives the notice shall, within thirty (30) days of the receipt of such notice, provide proof of citizenship to the registrar or his or her designee. For purposes of this subsection (2), proof of citizenship includes, but is not limited to:
(a) The voter's birth certificate or a legible photocopy of the birth certificate;
(b) A United States passport, or a legible photocopy of the pertinent pages of the passport, identifying the voter and showing the passport number;
(c) The voter's United States naturalization documentation, a legible photocopy of the naturalization documentation, or the number of the voter's certificate of naturalization; except that any person who provides the number of the certificate of naturalization in lieu of the naturalization documentation shall not be deemed to have provided proof of citizenship until the Secretary of State verifies the number with the United States citizenship and immigration services in the department of Homeland Security or its successor; or
(d) Any document or method of proof of citizenship established by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Public Law 99-603, compiled in 8 U.S.C. Section 1101 et seq.
(3) If the registered voter does not provide proof of citizenship within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the notification, the registrar of the county, or his or her designee, where the person registered to vote shall purge the voter from the Statewide Elections Management System.
(4) In the event a person is unable to provide any documentation listed in subsection (2) to show proof of citizenship, the person may appeal to the board of election commissioners of the county in which he or she attempted to register and submit additional proof of citizenship in person or in writing. The board of election commissioners shall conduct a hearing and make a finding concerning the individual's citizenship status and shall forward a copy of their decision to the registrar, or his or her designee, of the county where the person resides as established in Section 23-15-61. The Statewide Elections Management System shall be changed by the registrar, or his or her designee, to accurately reflect the decision of the board of election commissioners with respect to such voter.
(5) All documentation provided to show proof of citizenship as well as the Department of Public Safety database or relevant federal and state agency and county records shall be confidential and shall not be available for inspection by the public.
(6) The Secretary of State shall adopt the necessary rules and regulations for the administration of this section.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-165, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-165. (1) The Office of the Secretary of State, in cooperation with the county registrars and election commissioners, shall procure, implement and maintain an electronic information processing system and programs capable of maintaining a centralized database of all registered voters in the state. The system shall encompass software and hardware, at both the state and county level, software development training, conversion and support and maintenance for the system. This system shall be known as the "Statewide Elections Management System" and shall constitute the official record of registered voters in every county of the state.
(2) The Office of the Secretary of State shall develop and implement the Statewide Elections Management System so that the registrar and election commissioners of each county shall:
(a) Verify that an applicant that is registering to vote in that county is not registered to vote in another county;
(b) Be notified automatically that a registered voter in its county has registered to vote in another county;
(c) Receive regular
reports of death, changes of address and convictions for disenfranchising
crimes that apply to voters registered in the county; * * *
(d) Retain all present
functionality related to, but not limited to, the use of voter roll data and to
implement such other functionality as the law requires to enhance the
maintenance of accurate county voter records and related jury selection and
redistricting programs * * *
(e) When evidence exists that a particular registered voter may not be a citizen of the United States, send notification to the registrar of the location where the person is registered to vote.
(3) As a part of the procurement and implementation of the system, the Office of the Secretary of State shall, with the assistance of the advisory committee, procure services necessary to convert current voter registration records in the counties into a standard, industry accepted file format that can be used on the Statewide Elections Management System. Thereafter, all official voter information shall be maintained on the Statewide Elections Management System. The standard industry accepted format of data was reviewed and approved by a majority of the advisory committee created in subsection (5) of this section after consultation with the Circuit Clerks Association and the format may not be changed without consulting the Circuit Clerks Association.
(4) The Secretary of State may, with the assistance of the advisory committee, adopt rules and regulations necessary to administer the Statewide Elections Management System. The rules and regulations shall at least:
(a) Provide for the establishment and maintenance of a centralized database for all voter registration information in the state;
(b) Provide procedures for integrating data into the centralized database;
(c) Provide security to ensure that only the registrar, or his or her designee or other appropriate official, as the law may require, can add information to, delete information from and modify information in the system;
(d) Provide the registrar or his or her designee or other appropriate official, as the law may require, access to the system at all times, including the ability to download copies of the industry standard file, for all purposes related to their official duties, including, but not limited to, exclusive access for the purpose of printing all local pollbooks;
(e) Provide security and protection of all information in the system and monitor the system to ensure that unauthorized access is not allowed;
(f) Provide a procedure that will allow the registrar, or his or her designee or other appropriate official, as the law may require, to identify the precinct to which a voter should be assigned; and
(g) Provide a procedure for phasing in or converting existing manual and computerized voter registration systems in counties to the Statewide Elections Management System.
(5) The Secretary of State established an advisory committee to assist in developing system specifications, procurement, implementation and maintenance of the Statewide Elections Management System. The committee included two (2) representatives from the Circuit Clerks Association, appointed by the association; two (2) representatives from the Election Commissioners Association of Mississippi, appointed by the association; one (1) member of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, or its staff, appointed by the association; the Director of the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University, or his or her designee; the Executive Director of the Department of Information Technology Services, or his or her designee; two (2) persons knowledgeable about elections and information technology appointed by the Secretary of State; and the Secretary of State, who shall serve as the chair of the advisory committee.
(6) (a) Social security numbers, telephone numbers and date of birth and age information in statewide, district, county and municipal voter registration files shall be exempt from and shall not be subject to inspection, examination, copying or reproduction under the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983.
(b) Copies of statewide, district, county or municipal voter registration files, excluding social security numbers, telephone numbers and date of birth and age information, shall be provided to any person in accordance with the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983 at a cost not to exceed the actual cost of production.
SECTION 3. Section 23-15-15, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provides that any person who has acquired citizenship by order or decree of naturalization and who is otherwise qualified to register and vote under the laws of the State of Mississippi shall present or exhibit to the registrar of the county of his or her residence, at or before the time he or she may offer to register, a certified copy of the final order or decree of naturalization, or a certificate of naturalization or duplicate thereof, or a certified copy of such certificate of naturalization or duplicate in order to be allowed to register or to vote, is repealed.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.