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Mississippi Moves 10 Voting Precincts, Provides Incorrect or Missing Information For 90

Mississippi election officials have moved at least 10 precincts ahead of Tuesday’s party primaries for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and presidential candidates, a Mississippi Free Press investigation has found.

The Mississippi Free Press’ latest investigation and an examination of data in the Statewide Election Management System also found missing, incomplete, incorrect or old addresses for 90 precincts across 19 counties. That is a slight decrease from the 92 errors across 21 counties the MFP found ahead of the November 2023 statewide elections.

Mississippi Secretary of State

Unlike many other states, the State of Mississippi does not provide an up-to-date, comprehensive list of polling places to the public. To identify polling-place changes and problems, the Mississippi Free Press made a public records request to the secretary of state’s office for a copy of a SEMS report in mid-February and received a list dated March 1; the reporters also gathered polling place lists from county election officials, compared them to the information in SEMS and made calls to verify changes and correct discrepancies.

Since 2020, the Mississippi Free Press has repeatedly interrogated SEMS, identifying voting-precinct changes the secretary of state’s office did not know about and attempting to publicly correct errors to provide the public with accurate voting information. This work has prompted voting-rights organizations to urge Secretary of State Michael Watson to make changes; he has repeatedly said it is up to local election officials to keep SEMS updated with accurate polling-place information and that he does not have the authority to enforce accurate reporting.

“The role of the Secretary of State’s office is to assist counties in conducting elections, which includes training election officials, collecting campaign finance and lobbying reports, collecting election returns, providing assistance to local election officials in carrying out their election-related responsibilities and administering the Statewide Election Management System (“SEMS”),” he wrote the voting rights groups in 2022. “… Because the role of my office is limited to the administrative process of housing the SEMS database and the data stored thereon, any rules promulgated by our office would likewise be restricted.”

Polling-Place Changes

Hinds County accounts for

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