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Mississippi Voters ‘Overwhelmingly’ Want Ballot Initiatives Restored, Open Meetings

An “overwhelming” bi-partisan majority of likely Mississippi voters want the Legislature to restore the ability of voters to put issues on the ballot and vote on them through ballot initiatives, a new survey shows. The Mississippi Supreme Court struck down the ballot-initiative process in May 2021, along with a medical-marijuana law voters had approved in November 2020.

The poll, which Tulchin Research conducted between Jan. 21 and Jan. 25 on behalf of the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund and the New Southern Majority IE PAC, found that 65% of Mississippians said they “support the Mississippi State Legislature restoring the state’s ballot initiative process.” Among the supporters, 40% said they “strongly support” doing so. Only 14% of voters said they oppose restoring ballot initiatives, while 21% said they “don’t know.”

“Mississippians overwhelmingly support restoring a ballot initiative process no matter their party affiliation, location, age, race or any other demographic,” SPLC Action Fund Mississippi Policy Director Sonya Williams said in a statement this morning. “Mississippians want a direct voice in their government, and they deserve a process that makes it reasonably easy to put the issues they want to see on the ballot. The time is now for Mississippi lawmakers to prioritize getting this done for the people of this state.”

Tulchin Research said it surveyed 500 Mississippians it identified as “likely voters” by contacting people by landlines, cell phones, emails and text messages. The survey’s margin of error was +/- 4.3 percentage points.

The survey also found that 61% of Mississippi voters support expanding Medicaid, which health-care experts say could bring coverage to between 100,000 and 300,000 low-wage working Mississippians—and could also help save dozens of endangered rural hospitals that are required to see patients who currently have no way to pay. The poll found that 25% of likely voters oppose Medicaid expansion, while 14% said they “don’t know.” Other polls have similarly found majority support for expansion.

When the Mississippi Supreme Court struck down the ballot-initiative process, it killed a campaign to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot that had launched just two days earlier. During the 2022

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