Every U.S. citizen who possesses the following qualifications is entitled to register to vote in Mississippi:
An inhabitant of Mississippi, except persons judicially declared mentally incompetent; At least 18 years old (or will be by the date of the next general election);
A resident of the state, county, and supervisor’s district for 30 days;
Has never been convicted of any crime listed in Section 241 of the Mississippi Constitution (murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretense, perjury, forgery, embezzlement, or bigamy).
Once you are registered, you generally remain registered indefinitely, unless you move or no longer meet one of the qualifications to vote.
WHERE TO REGISTER
You may register to vote either by mail or by visiting your county Circuit Clerk (usually in the county courthouse) or Municipal Clerk (usually in City Hall).
You also may register to vote when applying for or renewing your driver’s license, or when applying for services at numerous state and federal government agencies.
REGISTERING BY MAIL
Any Mississippian qualified to register to vote may do so by mail. For an application, call your county Circuit Clerk, or pick one up at the courthouse, public library or other participating government office. Mail-in voter registration forms are also available from the Secretary of State’s Office.
WHEN TO REGISTER
If you register by mail: Your application must be postmarked at least 30 days prior to the election in which you want to vote.
If you register in the clerk’s office: You must register at least 30 days prior to the election in which you want to vote. In most cases, Circuit Clerks and Municipal Clerks are required to register voters at any time during usual business hours of 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
WHERE TO VOTE
After registering, you will be given your precinct name and the location of that precinct’s polling place. The polls are open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. each election day.
Some registered voters are eligible to vote absentee because of age, health or work demands, or their affiliation with the U.S. armed forces. For example, voters who will be outside their county of residence on election day are entitled to vote by absentee ballot. Please check with your Circuit or Municipal Clerk to determine if you are entitled to vote absentee and to learn the procedures for doing so.
Absentee voting deadlines come early to help assure your ballot is counted. If you know you will vote absentee, contact your Circuit or Municipal Clerk at least two weeks before the election.
Party candidates are nominated through primary elections. A voter may vote in either party’s primary, and cast a ballot for that party’s nominees to the general election. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in a primary, a run-off is held between the top two vote-getters.
A voter who votes in the primary of one party may not “crossover” to vote in the run-off of another party.
By law, primary elections are run by each political party’s county or municipal executive committee with oversight from the state party executive committees. Circuit and Municipal Clerks also provide support.
Candidates are elected to office in general elections. The general election ballot contains the names of the party nominees, plus any independent or third party candidates who have qualified. For most elective offices, the candidate who receives the highest number of votes is elected. Offices in which candidates do not run in party primaries (most judicial offices, county election commissioner, some others) require a run-off if no candidate receives a majority vote in the general election.
By law, general elections are run by county or municipal Election Commissioners with limited oversight from the State Board of Election Commissioners. Circuit and Municipal Clerks also provide support.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact your Circuit Clerk, Municipal Clerk, Election Commissioner, or the Secretary of State’s Office for further assistance.