2021 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Tate, Norwood, Jackson (32nd), England, Jordan, Butler, Thomas, Blount, Jackson (11th), Witherspoon, Barnett, Simmons (13th), Simmons (12th), Frazier, Branning
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO ADOPT AND PUBLISH TESTING STANDARDS AND ELECTION PROCEDURES THAT MEET OR EXCEED THE STANDARDS SET BY THE UNITED STATES ELECTIONS ASSISTANCE COMMISSION; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-507, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE ALL OMR EQUIPMENT TO BE CERTIFIED BY THE UNITED STATES ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-531.1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE ALL DRE UNITS TO BE CERTIFIED BY THE UNITED STATES ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The Secretary of State shall adopt and publish testing standards that meet or exceed federal voluntary standards set by the United States Election Assistance Commission or its successor agency.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-507, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-507. No * * *
voting equipment or systems that
tabulate votes shall be acquired or used in accordance with this chapter
unless it shall:
(a) Permit eligible voters to vote at any election for all persons for whom they are lawfully entitled to vote; to vote for as many persons for an office as they are lawfully entitled to vote; to vote for or against any ballot initiative, measure or other local issue upon which they are lawfully entitled to vote;
(b) The * * *
equipment shall be capable of rejecting choices marked on the ballot if the
number of choices exceeds the number that the voter is entitled to vote for the
office or on the measure;
(c) Permit each voter, in presidential elections, by one (1) mark to vote for the candidates of that party for President, Vice President, and their presidential electors, or to vote individually for the electors of their choice when permitted by law;
(d) Permit each voter, in other than primary elections, to vote for the nominees of one or more parties and for independent candidates;
(e) Permit each voter to vote for candidates only in the primary in which he or she is qualified to vote;
(f) Permit each voter to vote for persons whose names are not on the printed ballot;
(g) Be suitably designed for the purpose used, of durable construction, and may be used safely, efficiently and accurately in the conduct of elections and the counting of ballots;
(h) Be provided with means for sealing the ballots after the close of the polls;
(i) When properly
operated, record correctly and count accurately all votes cast; * * *
(j) Provide the voter
with a set of instructions that will be displayed in such a way that a voter
may readily learn the method of voting * * *
(k) Be certified by the United States Election Assistance Commission, or designated federal authority, as meeting or exceeding the voluntary voting system standards or guidelines as promulgated by the United States Election Assistance Commission, or designated federal authority.
SECTION 3. Section 23-15-531.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-531.1. (1) The board of supervisors of each county and the governing authorities of each municipality are hereby authorized and empowered, in their discretion, to purchase or rent DRE units that meets the requirements of subsection (2) of this section and may use such system in all or a part of the precincts within its boundaries. The provisions of this chapter shall be controlling with respect to elections in which a DRE unit is used, and shall be liberally construed so as to carry out the purpose of this chapter. The provisions of the election law relating to the conduct of elections with paper ballots, insofar as they are applicable, shall apply.
(2) No DRE unit shall be acquired or used in accordance with this chapter unless it shall:
(a) Permit the voter to verify, in a private and independent manner, the votes selected by the voter on the ballot before the ballot is cast and counted;
(b) Provide the voter with the opportunity, in a private and independent manner, to change the ballot or correct any error before the ballot is cast and counted, including, but not limited to, the opportunity to correct the error through the issuance of a replacement ballot if the voter is otherwise unable to change the ballot or correct any error;
(c) If the voter votes for more candidates for a single office than are eligible for election:
(i) Notify the voter that he or she has selected more candidates for that office than are eligible for election;
(ii) Notify the voter before his or her vote is cast and counted of the effect of casting multiple votes for such an office; and
(iii) Provide the voter with the opportunity to correct the ballot before the ballot is cast and counted;
(d) Produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capability;
(e) Have the capability to print the ballots cast by electors;
(f) Be accessible for individuals with disabilities, including, but not limited to, nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, as for other voters. This requirement may be satisfied through the use of at least one (1) DRE unit or other voting unit equipped for individuals with disabilities at each polling place;
alternative language accessibility pursuant to the requirements of the Voting
Rights Act of 1965; * * *
(h) Have a residual
vote rate in counting ballots attributable to the voting system and not to
voter error that complies with error rate standards established under the voting
system standards issued by the Federal Election Commission in effect as of
October 29, 2002 * * *
(i) Be certified by the United States Election Assistance Commission, or designated federal authority, as meeting or exceeding the voluntary voting system standards or guidelines as promulgated by the United States Election Assistance Commission, or designated federal authority.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.