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HomePoliticalSecretary of State highlights election integrity laws handed in 2023 session

Secretary of State highlights election integrity laws handed in 2023 session

Secretary of State Michael Watson

Measures not solely deal with poll harvesting but in addition enhance transparency in marketing campaign finance reporting and search to higher keep voter rolls.

Among the many laws handed in the course of the 2023 Legislative session had been Senate Invoice 2358, Home Invoice 1306, and Home Invoice 1310, all pertaining to securing elections in Mississippi.

Whereas S.B. 2358 and H.B. 1306 have been signed by the Governor, H.B. 1310 remains to be awaiting approval.

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson stated clear and truthful elections are the cornerstone of our democracy.

“I’m happy with our work with the Legislature in the course of the 2023 session to additional protect the integrity of Mississippi elections,” Secretary Watson stated.

Secretary Watson defined that with the passage of S.B. 2358, poll harvesting is prohibited with a number of exceptions for relations, mail carriers, and the like whereas H.B. 1306 offers for penalties for fraudulently requesting absentee ballots. It additionally seeks to strengthen transparency in marketing campaign finance reporting. Any candidate who doesn’t file all marketing campaign finance reviews required within the final 5 years is prohibited from operating for workplace.

“Awaiting the Governor’s signature is H.B. 1310, or our election integrity bundle,” Watson stated. “Via this invoice, we’ve been granted authority to conduct post-election audits, expanded procedures to make sure solely U.S. residents are voting in Mississippi elections, secured funding for enhanced cybersecurity, and codified strategies to higher keep voter rolls.”

“With these further safeguards, our objective is to revive confidence within the voting course of and reaffirm to Mississippians their vote is the one they forged,” Watson concluded.

Senate Invoice 2358

Signed by Governor Tate Reeves, the laws bans poll harvesting within the state of Mississippi.

Poll harvesting is the follow of a third-party selecting up or gathering a voter’s absentee poll and delivering it to a polling place or a clerk’s workplace. Such assortment is commonly carried out by political operatives or organizations.

S.B. 2358 additionally states that an individual shall not knowingly accumulate and transmit a poll that was mailed to a different individual and descriptions the people which might be exempted:

  • An election official whereas engaged in official duties as approved by regulation.
  • An worker of america Postal Service whereas engaged in official duties as approved by regulation. 
  • Every other particular person who’s allowed by federal regulation to gather and transmit United States mail whereas engaged in official duties as approved by regulation. 
  • A member of the family, family member, or caregiver of the individual to whom the poll was mailed. 
  • A typical provider that transports items from one place to a different for a payment. No parcel shall include greater than a single poll.

In signing the invoice, Governor Reeves defined that poll harvesting is the place dangerous actors can reap the benefits of susceptible voters and circumvent the election course of.

“This course of is an open invitation for fraud and abuse and may happen with out the voter ever even realizing,” Reeves stated. “Throughout the nation, we’ve seen how dangerous actors have used poll harvesting to reap the benefits of aged and susceptible voters in different states, all to allow them to attempt to circumvent our democratic course of and minimize you out of it. However right here in Mississippi, we’re simply not going to let that occur. Right here, we’ll make it straightforward to vote and laborious to cheat.” 

Governor Reeves stated “we reject makes an attempt to cheat and we reject poll harvesting.”

“We demand election integrity and we demand accountability. In truth, 87% of all People oppose poll harvesting. I stand with the overwhelming majority of Mississippians and with the overwhelming majority of People,” Reeves stated. “And so long as I’m governor, Mississippi will proceed to take a powerful stand in protection of our elections in order that we are able to guarantee full confidence within the outcomes.”

Home Invoice 1310

Handed by the Mississippi Legislature and awaiting the Governor’s signature, Secretary Watson stated H.B. 1310 permits for post-election audits, provides new instruments for counties to conduct voter roll upkeep, offers further election assist funding for counties, and expands procedures to make sure solely U.S. residents vote.

“Recognize Rep. Brent Powell’s good work on H.B. 1310 and grateful for Lt. Gov. Hosemann, Sen. Jeff Tate, Rep. Worth Wallace, and Speaker Gunn shepherding it by means of the legislature,” Watson stated. “Clear and truthful elections are the cornerstone of our democracy. We’ve been engaged on items of this election integrity bundle from day one. Extraordinarily proud to see by means of to the end line.”

Home Invoice 1306

Signed by Governor Reeves on March 28, 2023, H.B. 1306 revises “sure provisions about names of candidates showing on the poll, judicial candidate’s annual report, and fraudulent absentee voter functions.”

“Via our work with HB 1306, candidates operating for all places of work can be prevented from showing on the poll in the event that they haven’t filed their marketing campaign finance reviews within the final 5 years,” Secretary Watson stated. “Transparency & accountability are basic elements of the elections course of.”

Watson stated H.B. 1306 additionally assists District Attorneys with prosecutorial authority by offering penalties for fraudulently requesting or submitting an absentee poll utility.

“Nice workforce effort with our legislators to proceed making it simpler to vote and tougher to cheat!” Watson added.



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