The former Mississippi official whose tweet may have inspired President Trump to order a “major investigation” into voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election says he has been receiving death threats. “There are people who want to kill me,” ex-welfare head Gregg Phillips told The Clarion-Ledger. “It’s insane.” PolitiFact and others have traced the original claim regarding fraud on Election Day to Phillips, who in the past has been accused of profiting from connections he made while serving in government — something he has denied. After Trump’s victory, Phillips tweeted out, “We have verified more than three million votes cast by non-citizens. We are joining @truethevote to initiate legal action.” Then he tweeted: “Completed analysis of database of 180 million voter registrations. Number of non-citizen votes exceeds 3 million. Consulting legal team.” InfoWars published a story with the headline, “Report: Three Million Votes in Presidential Election Cast by Illegal Aliens. Trump may have won popular vote.” The Drudge Report picked up the story, too.
Articles about voting issues in Mississippi.
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.
Proposals to expand access to early voting and to create online registration for first-time voters are advancing at the Mississippi Capitol. So is a plan that could eventually simplify the process of restoring voting rights for people who served time for nonviolent felonies. All three bills passed the House Elections Committee on Monday and move to the full House for more debate. House Bill 228 would allow no-excuses in-person early voting, starting 14 days before an election. Current law only lets people vote early if they will be out of town Election Day.
For the first time ever, Mississippi voters had to show an ID to vote in the presidential election. Hinds County leaders used ID scanners to speed up long lines at the polls. “We have scanners that will scan the driver’s licenses and automatically pull out the voter’s name so they don’t have to manually go in and look for it,” election commissioner Connie Cochran said. But the ID scanners are only as good as the poll workers using them. Scanner problems might have cost a Jackson woman her vote because poll workers told her that her granddaughter had already voted using the woman’s name. “She had her ID and everything, but when the machine pulled it up, it pulled up my name (and) she didn’t know,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used.
Mississippi: Voting rights activists fret over loss of election observers in Mississippi | The Kansas City Star
November’s presidential election is the first in more than 50 years in which the federal government won’t send a full complement of specially trained observers to monitor elections in states, like Mississippi, with long records of discriminatory voting practices. After the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder weakened a core provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the U.S. Department of Justice can deploy special election observers from the Office of Personnel Management only where authorized by a court order. Because of that requirement, the department will deploy a smaller number of its own staff attorneys and other personnel to monitor elections next month in roughly half the states. Unlike the special observers, the department staffers won’t have the authority to view activity inside polling places and locations where votes are tallied unless they get approval from local officials. That potential loss of access to real-time voting operations is causing concern among civil- and voting-rights activists about the integrity of Mississippi’s vote process.
Mississippi has an estimated 182,814 convicted felons ineligible to vote, according to a 2012 study by the Sentencing Project, a national nonprofit organization that works on criminal justice issues. Only Florida with 1.54 million felons or 10.42 percent of its voter-age population ineligible to vote had a higher percentage than Mississippi where 8.27 percent of the adult population was ineligible to vote, according to the study. While the Sentencing Project study might be a bit dated, more than likely the statistics have not changed much in Mississippi. Since 2012, which encompasses the time the current leadership has controlled the House and Senate, eight felons have had their voting rights restored by the Mississippi Legislature.
Mississippi: Voter ID laws: Why black Democrats’ fight for the ballot in Mississippi still matters | The Conversation
This fall, we are faced with the question of who will become president. And equally important – who can vote? Over the past decade, Republican lawmakers in more than 20 states have enacted laws making it harder to vote. In the most extreme cases, they require citizens to present government-issued ID to cast their ballots. Recently, these laws have been successfully challenged in the courts. This summer, federal courts overturned voting laws in North Carolina and North Dakota. In North Carolina, the court ruled against a state law requiring voters to present government-issued ID. The law also restricted, among other things, early voting and had a disproportionate effect on African-American voters. A federal judge ruled that the North Dakota voter ID law had a harmful impact on the ability of Native Americans to cast their vote. Looming over the controversy about voter ID laws is the history of voter suppression and the movement to open the ballot box to African-Americans. As a scholar in African-American history, I believe that today’s debate can be understood only by considering struggles of African-Americans for the vote in the past and in particular by looking at the story of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
In Mississippi, a person convicted of selling 1,000 kilos of cocaine keeps the right to vote while a person convicted of grand larceny loses the right to vote for life. Mississippi lists 21 felony crimes that disqualify a person from voting for life: arson; armed robbery; bigamy; bribery; embezzlement; extortion; felony bad check; felony shoplifting; forgery; larceny; murder; obtaining money or goods under false pretense; perjury; rape; receiving stolen property; robbery; theft; timber larceny; unlawful taking of motor vehicle; statutory rape; carjacking; and larceny under lease or rental agreement. In Mississippi, the only way to restore the right to vote after a felony conviction is by the Legislature passing a suffrage bill. However, very few people have their right to vote restored through the legislative process. “It’s not an effective, workable system,” said longtime state Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Charleston. “It’s basically a 19th century system for the 21st century.”
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says Mississippi’s voter ID law was crafted with input from the U.S. Department of Justice, which was completely different than Texas’ voter ID law that was struck down this week by the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. “We took a completely different tactic than Texas,” Hosemann said Thursday. “We did it right.” He said the voter ID law struck down in Texas had a charge to verify birth certificate and no funds were provided for a public awareness program. Hosemann said Mississippi will provide free rides to and from circuit clerk’s offices for individuals to obtain free voter photo ID cards that can be presented at the time of voting. If individuals need it, circuit clerks can search for a person’s birth certificate at the clerk’s office that can be used to verify that person’s identity so a voter ID card can be issued.
Mississippi lawmakers this year rejected a proposal to stop making liars of their fellow citizens, at least when it comes to early voting. Current state law allows any registered voter who is disabled or at least 65 years old to cast an absentee ballot before election day. Anyone else needs an excuse, such as being out of town on election day, to vote early by absentee. A bipartisan study group led by Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann met in 2015 and recommended several election law revisions for legislators to consider this year. The group unanimously backed the concept of allowing voters to cast ballots in circuit clerks’ offices starting 21 days before any election, without having to give a reason. During a news conference at the beginning of the legislative session in January, Hosemann said about 9,000 people cast absentee ballots in Mississippi statewide elections. He said about one-third request mail-in ballots, while two-thirds go to a circuit clerk’s office to vote absentee. Almost half of the people going to clerks’ offices say they’re planning to be out of the county on election day.