Home - Breaking News, Events, Things-To-Do, Dining, Nightlife


Early voting legislation dies in House

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune.

Sen. Jeremy England, R-Vancleave, presents legislation in the Senate Chamber at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Lawmakers in both chambers are considering bills that survived their committee deadline. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • Senator England, the bill’s author, and State Rep. Sanford have discussed holding hearings on the matter later this year.

A bill authored by State Senator Jeremy England (R) to allow early voting in Mississippi died due to inaction in a House committee on deadline day Tuesday.

The legislation, SB 2580, passed overwhelmingly in the Senate by a vote of 44 to 8, with only Republicans opposing the measure. However, House Chairman of Apportionment and Elections State Representative Noah Sanford (R) chose not to take it up in his committee prior to the deadline this week.

England’s bill would have allowed for 15 days of early voting prior to an Election Day, excluding Sundays and ending the Saturday before the scheduled election. The measure would have eliminated in-person absentee voting, but mail-in absentee voting would still have been accessible.  

“I’m disappointed especially considering we passed it 44 to 8 over here and I know that hard working Mississippians really want to see us give them that opportunity to have the convenience of voting,” said Senator England on the demise of the bill. “Of course, change is always difficult and so we’ve discussed having hearings on it this summer.”

State Representative Sanford told Magnolia Tribune on Wednesday that killing the bill was not entirely due to an opposition of early voting, but the need for more information on how the process would work. Sanford said he only found out in January when assignments were announced on the floor that he would be chairing the House committee.

Representative Noah Sanford (R)

“I had people ask me within a few days of that what I thought about the early voting bill. I told them at that time I’m not opposed to early voting,” said Sanford. “But I want to have hearings on it in the summer when everything is not on deadline, and everyone is not rushing with one-thousand things.”

When the Senate rolled out their plan, Sanford said at that time he began receiving calls from circuit clerks who were concerned with how the implementation of a 15-day early voting process would impact staffing, funds, and space within their offices.

The Senate bill outlined that the voting must take place within the circuit clerk’s office, which often have very little public spaces to utilize for such activities. Ultimately, Rep. Sanford said there were so many moving parts of the proposal that he felt it needed to be worked on further. He also shared that he had an issue with the changes to in-person absentee voting.

“The Senate bill does not even go into effect until 2026. Whether we kill it or pass it this year it wasn’t going to change a single thing that happened in ’24 or ’25,” said Sanford.

He anticipates that meetings this summer will bring all parties involved in executing early voting to the table to discuss the details.

The legislative session is not over for the year and, as lawmakers often say, no bill is “dead” until it is really “dead dead dead” when sine die is called from the dais.

Senator England said that while he and Sanford have discussed hearings for later this year, he hopes there might still be a way to revive the effort before the 2024 session ends.

Mississippi is one of only three states that does not allow early in-person voting.

This article first appeared on the Magnolia Tribune and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Read original article by clicking here.

Local Dining Stream

Things To Do

Related articles