Mississippians could register to vote online and begin voting 21 days before an election without an absentee excuse under a “complete revision” of election laws Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is proposing to the Legislature. “It is time to address outdated and inefficient election laws which have, in some cases, been on the books for decades,” Hosemann said on Tuesday, releasing his proposals with a Capitol press conference. “These proposals make it easier to cast your ballot, harder for someone to cheat the electorate and provide severe penalties for those who do.” Hosemann recommends tougher, consolidated penalties for election-law crimes, which he noted are almost never prosecuted in part because they are not clearly defined or understood. His proposal would consolidate all election crimes and penalties, making them either misdemeanors with a maximum fine of $1,000 and a year in jail, or felonies with maximum $3,000 fines and up to two years in jail.
Hosemann’s proposed reforms are based in large part on the recommendations of a 37-member bipartisan task for he created in 2014 in the wake of complaints about the Republican primary for U.S. Senate between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
State Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, served on Hosemann’s committee and has been vice chairman of the Senate Elections Committee. He has for the last three years pushed for early voting and online registration. Blount said both have bipartisan support and now the endorsement of the task force. He plans to file another bill as early as next week. He said he’s pleased overall with the reforms package Hosemann is pushing, but said he hasn’t closely parsed all 400 pages or so of Hosemann’s proposed omnibus.
“Pre-election day voting has some real advantages beyond convenience,” Blount said. “More people voting early means fewer voting machines you need on election day. And by more people voting early in person, you reduce absentee voting by mail, which reduces the potential for fraud.”
Full Article: Hosemann proposes ‘complete revision’ of election laws.