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Editor’s Note | Mississippi Voters Deserve Accurate Election Information

Mississippians need and deserve more election information before they go to the polls. That’s what I heard repeatedly from Gulf Coast residents on March 5 when I joined Mississippi Free Press team members and locals for our first-ever Biloxi Solutions Circles event.

People said in the circle that they are frustrated that, when they arrive to vote, they see a bunch of positions they didn’t know would be on it, too many positions with only one option, and too many candidates they’ve never heard about and whose positions and ideas they aren’t familiar with. And when they turn to local news for information on candidates, they either meet paywalls or a barrage of out-of-state stories that have nothing to do with their communities.

Even as a journalist, I’m all too familiar with these experiences. Sometimes, it seems like the only way to find out information about the people on my local ballot is to do the work of calling them, asking them questions, looking at their social media trail and examining their histories myself—you know, reporting. But that’s not realistic for everyone who wants to cast a ballot in their local elections.

Now, our team at the Mississippi Free Press is incredible, and they do amazing work. But we realize we can’t single-handedly solve the problem of the dearth of electoral information in all the state’s municipalities and across all 82 counties in one fell swoop. (Now, if any generous funders out there want to help us set up a bureau in each county, please feel free to contact Kimberly Griffin and Donna Ladd), and we’ll get it done. But what we have sought to do, ever since 2020, is ensure voters in all 82 counties can at least know their polling-place location.

Read the letter a voting-rights coalition sent to Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson on Oct. 14, 2022, citing Mississippi Free Press coverage.

Year after year, we’ve heard people tell us that they took time off work to show up at the polls to cast a ballot and waited in line only to be told their polling

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