Polls opened at 7 a.m. today for 12 hours of voting to determine the next governor of Mississippi and a cascade of offices including statewide, legislative, district and county positions.
The Mississippi secretary of state’s office offered important reminders about basic laws and rules governing voting place behavior. At the polling places, obeying the clearly stated rules will make voting easier and faster, from registering at the poll book to casting the voting machine ballots.
State election officials offered the following tips for Election Day:
• Going to the correct polling place is crucial, and may be the most-frequent mistake of first-time voters.
• State law requires individuals to present acceptable photo ID when casting a ballot on Election Day. Several forms of identification are accepted. If you do not have acceptable photo ID, circuit clerks can provide a Mississippi Voter ID card, free of charge. If a voter does not have acceptable photo ID at the polls, he/she may still cast an affidavit ballot, and then must present an acceptable photo ID to the circuit clerk within five business days after the election for the vote not to be rejected. Some important issues have been decided by following up on affidavit ballots.
• It is against the law for any candidate or candidate’s representative to distribute campaign literature within 150 feet of a polling location. It is the position of the Secretary of State’s office that wearing clothing with a candidate’s name and/or picture on it or other campaign paraphernalia within 150 feet of a polling location constitutes campaigning and is prohibited. Don’t test the mettle of this state law; it’s enforced in fairness to all.
• No loitering is allowed within 30 feet of the polling place. The bailiff is to keep the area clear of all persons except election officials, credentialed poll watchers and voters. After casting his/her vote, a voter should leave, making room for other voters.
• State law requires a space for a write-in candidate on the ballot, but state law only allows for the tabulation of write-in candidates in the event of the death, resignation, withdrawal or removal of any candidate whose name is printed on the ballot.
• Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the event there is a line at 7 p.m. when the polls close, a poll worker will stand at the end of the line to designate the last voter as of 7 p.m.
These telephone numbers and computer addresses are specifically for dealing with election issues:
•Toll-free Election Hotline: 1-800-829-6786
• Voter information guide: www.yallvote.sos.ms.gov
• Polling place information, sample ballot: https://www.sos.ms.gov/PollingPlace/Pages/default.aspx