2021 Regular Session
To: Elections; Constitution
By: Senator(s) Norwood, Simmons (12th)
AN ACT TO CREATE THE RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO WAS DISQUALIFIED AS AN ELECTOR FOR COMMISSION OF CERTAIN CRIMES SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE RESTORED AUTOMATICALLY UPON COMPLETION OF THE SENTENCE AND FOLLOWING A TWO-YEAR WAITING PERIOD; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Restoration of Voting Rights Act."
(2) (a) Except as provided by Section 99-19-37, any person who has lost the right of suffrage under Section 241 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, or under any statute enacted by the Legislature under Section 244A of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, shall automatically be restored suffrage only when that person has fully completed all terms of prison, parole, probation or supervision and has remained crime- and arrest-free in the two-year period following the full completion of sentence and any term of prison, parole, probation or supervision. At that time the person's right to vote shall be restored by operation of law as though an act had been passed by the Legislature in accordance with Section 253 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 restoring the right of suffrage to the person.
(b) If a person whose suffrage has been restored under this act shall appear in the registrar's office to register as a qualified elector, the person's name shall be entered on the pollbooks if the person is otherwise a qualified elector.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-11. (1) Every inhabitant of this state, except persons adjudicated to be non compos mentis, who is a citizen of the United States of America, eighteen (18) years old and upwards, who has resided in this state for thirty (30) days and for thirty (30) days in the county in which he or she seeks to vote, and for thirty (30) days in the incorporated municipality in which he or she seeks to vote, and who has been duly registered as an elector under Section 23-15-33, and who has never been convicted of vote fraud, of any other crime for which disenfranchisement has been prescribed by the Legislature under Section 244A, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, or of any crime listed in Section 241, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, shall be a qualified elector in and for the county, municipality and voting precinct of his or her residence, and shall be entitled to vote at any election upon compliance with Section 23-15-563. If the thirtieth day to register before an election falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, the registration applications submitted on the business day immediately following the Sunday or legal holiday shall be accepted and entered in the Statewide Elections Management System for the purpose of enabling voters to vote in the next election. Any person who will be eighteen (18) years of age or older on or before the date of the general election and who is duly registered to vote not less than thirty (30) days before the primary election associated with the general election, may vote in the primary election even though the person has not reached his or her eighteenth birthday at the time that the person seeks to vote at the primary election. No others than those specified in this section shall be entitled, or shall be allowed, to vote at any election.
(2) If a person convicted of a crime for which disenfranchisement has been prescribed by the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 or by statute has completed all the conditions of the sentence and is eligible to vote under the provisions of Section 1 of this act, the person shall not be disqualified as an elector due to the conviction.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.