The Senate Elections Committee passed its own version of campaign finance reform on Wednesday and an ‘omnibus’ bill to clean up and tweak Mississippi election code. Senate Elections Chairwoman Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, said her committee would be open to a House-passed campaign finance bill, but indicated House proposals to allow early voting and online voter registration would be DOA if passed on from the House to the Senate. “There are just too many concerns about online hacking — even allegations from this last election — to look at (online registration) this year,” Doty said of a measure House Elections approved to allow first-time voters to register online. Last year, the Legislature approved people changing their registration online after they move, but the Senate stripped out first-time registration online.
“I just don’t think we’ll take that up this year as well,” Doty said of a House proposal to allow people to vote up to 14 days before an election, similar to what many states allow. Doty’s Elections vice chairman, Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, had authored early voting and online registration measures, but they appear set to die with Tuesday’s deadline for committee passage.
The Senate committee did pass a bill Wednesday that would allow absentee voters to vote on machines in their local clerks’ offices instead of using paper-and-envelope forms. SB2687, authored by Doty, would allow counties to decide whether to allow machine absentee voting.
The Senate committee passed SB2689, which would restrict personal use of campaign funds by politicians and strengthen reporting requirements. The Senate passed a campaign finance reform measure last year, and approved a later compromise version after negotiating with the House, but the House killed the bill late in the session. This year, the full House has already overwhelmingly passed a House campaign-finance reform measure authored by Speaker Philip Gunn.
Full Article: Senate likely to kill early voting, online registration.