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Advocates for early voting gather signatures for ballot initiative
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Jacobs and Representative Hester Jackson-McCray filed the ballot initiative with the Secretary of State's office in April 
Kobee Vance, MPB News

Advocates for early voting opportunities are gathering signatures for a potential ballot initiative in Mississippi. But the state’s ballot initiative process was deemed unconstitutional earlier this summer. The measure will continue to work towards a July 2022 deadline for signatures regardless.



Mississippi Early Voting Initiative 78 is working in all of the state’s 82 counties to gather signatures for a ballot initiative. The measure was originally filed in April, before the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled the citizen referendum process unconstitutional in a case over ballot initiative 65 for medical marijuana. Initiative 78 Co-Chair Kelly Jacobs says lawmakers have time to restore the state’s initiative process, but says legal action is also pending.

“The Mississippi Secretary of State has approved initiative 77 which is the legalize marijuana initiative, and initiative 78, which is our Mississippi Early Voting Initiative since that May 14th ruling,” says Jacobs. “So clearly the Secretary of State thinks that the initiative process is functioning.”

Until the ruling, ballot initiatives were certified by the Secretary of State using five now-outdated congressional districts. Jacobs says the statewide election management system used by county circuit clerks divides the state into the four current congressional districts.

Jacobs says “It doesn’t matter if I want to say that there’s five congressional districts because that’s what the constitution says, what matters is what the statewide election management system is set up to do, and that is for four congressional districts.”

Jacobs says Mississippi is the only state without early voting options other than casting absentee ballots. And says the ballot initiative would allow for Mississippians to vote up to 10 days early in elections.