Your Vote is Important to our Democracy!
Need to register?
Not sure how or if you can vote?
Here’s the info you need.
• How old do I have to be in order to register to vote?
You either have to be at least 18 now, or you must turn 18 before the date of the next General Election. (So you can register early, if you’ll be old enough to vote in the election.)
• How do I register to vote, or help someone else register?
Go here, and download the registration form. The address you will need to mail it/drop it off is on the second page. (Note: you will need a Mississippi Driver’s license or your Social Security Number to register; if you don’t have either, you can still register but you’ll need to send along a copy of a valid and current photo ID, or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, pay check, government check, or other government document showing your name and address.) In addition to the mailing addresses on the form, you may also register in person at your Circuit Clerk’s office, Municipal Clerk’s office, a Department of Public Safety office, or any state/federal office offering government services, such as the Department of Human Services.
• When should I register to vote?
Simple answer: NOW. Right now. But you must register no later than 30 days before the election you want to vote in.
• Why should I check my voter registration?
You should make sure your voter registration information with your county of registration is up to date, and that you are registered. This is important for two reasons: one, if you have moved, even if it’s in the same town, you need to update your registration. If you haven’t done that, you might not be able to vote where you think you are supposed to, and/or you could be challenged on Election Day and might not be able to vote at all or have your vote counted. Second, sometimes, in order to prevent “undesirable” people from voting, particularly in Republican-controlled areas, county election officials have purged people from the voting rolls—occasionally, without their knowledge and without good reason. Make sure that you haven’t been stricken off the voter rolls without your knowledge.
• How can I check my voter registration, or update my registration information?
The easiest way: go here, and put in your information. If you need to update your address or any other voter registration information, you can do it there as well. Also, most counties have websites you can find via Google, which tells you who you need to contact to check your registration, and how to reach them. Or you can use the Mississippi Secretary of State’s interactive map to find your Circuit Clerk’s contact information so you can get in touch with them to check your status and information, and update it if necessary.
• I have a felony conviction. Can I vote?
The answer to that may be yes! You’ve probably been told that if you have a felony conviction, you cannot vote. That is only true in certain cases—but please read further! If you have been convicted in a Mississippi court of one of the following 22 offenses, you are disenfranchised—which means you can’t vote (unless you go through the process to get your voting rights restored, which is pretty complicated):
- Arson 12. Obtaining money or goods under false pretenses
- Armed robbery 13. Perjury
- Bigamy 14. Rape
- Bribery 15. Receiving stolen property
- Embezzlement 16. Robbery
- Extortion 17. Theft
- Felony bad check 18. Timber larceny
- Felony shoplifting 19. Unlawful taking of motor vehicle
- Forgery 20. Statutory rape
- Larceny 21. Carjacking
- Murder 22. Larceny under lease or rental agreement
- Drug offenses are notdisenfranchising crimes. If you have not committed one of the above felonies, you can vote in Mississippi, even if you have a drug-related felony or another felony that is not listed here.
- To be barred from voting, your felony conviction must have been in a Mississippi state court. If your felony conviction was out of state, you can vote in Mississippi.
- If your felony conviction was in a Federal court, you can still vote in Mississippi.
• Where can I vote in person?
Go here, and put in the address where you are registered to vote. This will tell you where you need to go on Election Day in order to vote. And this is why your address on your voter registration needs to be up to date: where you go to vote will be determined by what address is listed on your voter registration.
• Do I need to bring identification with me when I vote?
Yes. Mississippi is a state that requires voters to show an acceptable photo ID in order to be allowed to vote. Here is the list of acceptable photo IDs (you need to bring only one of these with you):
- A driver’s license
- A government-issued photo ID card
- A United States passport
- A government employee photo ID card
- A firearms license
- A student photo ID issued by an accredited Mississippi university, college, or community/junior college
- A United States military photo ID
- A tribal photo ID
- Any other photo ID issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government or any State (not just Mississippi) government
- A Mississippi Voter Identification Card
If you forget your ID on election day, you can still vote—by what is called an affidavit ballot—but you will have to bring a valid ID to the Circuit or Municipal Clerk’s office within five business days after the election or your vote won’t count. Also, if you don’t have a valid photo ID because of a religious objection, you can still vote; the workers at the polling place should help you with how to do that.
• I won’t be in my registered voting location on the date of the election, I may be in jail/prison without having been convicted of one of the felonies above, or there may be some other reason I can’t get to a polling place. Can I still vote?
Yes. You may do so by absentee ballot. Whether you do that in person or by mail depends on your situation. You can find detailed information on that here. If you are a college student, attending school outside of your voter registration location, you’ll really need to make sure to vote by absentee ballot. You can request a ballot and vote any time within 45 days of the election (starting in late September, in other words). You can vote in person, but if you are living outside of your county while at school, you can request to vote by mail.
In general, you must vote by absentee ballot in person if:
- You will be away from your county on Election Day for any reason other than the ones listed below.
- You will be unable to vote in person because you are required to be at work on Election Day during the times at which the polls will be open.
- You are a member, spouse, or dependent of the congressional delegation absent from Mississippi on Election Day.
- You are a student, teacher, or administrator at a school whose studies or employment there necessitates your absence from your county on Election Day; or you are the spouse or dependent thereof.
You may vote either in person or by mail if
- You are temporarily living outside of your county of residence, and a ballot has to be mailed to you outside of your county. (This would include students living on/off campus at a school far from their home.)
- You have a temporary or permanent physical disability that renders you unable to vote in person without substantial hardship.
- You are the parent, spouse, or dependent of a person with a temporary or permanent physical disability who is hospitalized outside of their county of residence or more than 50 miles away, and you will be with that disabled person on Election Day.
- You are 65 years of age or older.
- You are a disabled war veteran (or spouse or dependent of such a person) in a hospital.
If you are not sure if you are eligible to request an absentee ballot by mail, or return it by mail, you must check with your Circuit Clerk for approval!
Very important! If you are voting absentee by mail, your ballot must be witnessed by someone with the authority to administer oaths, such as a notary public. You must follow the directions for who may witness your ballot, or it will not be counted.
For more information, please go to www.sos.ms.gov.
Primary Election Tuesday August 7th
General Election Tuesday November 8th