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New legislation pushes Mississippi runoff elections back one week

New legislation in Mississippi will lengthen the runoff election process.

Starting on January 1, 2025, runoffs in state elections will take place four weeks following Election Day, instead of the previous three-week period. The bill aims to give circuit clerks and election officials an extra week to prepare for runoff elections. SB 2144 passed by a resounding 118-1 House vote and cleared the Senate 50-1 in the most recent legislative session.

Senator Jeremy England, the chairman of the Mississippi Elections Committee, told The Gallo Show the extra time will also give voters a chance to have a better idea of who they’re voting for in the runoff.

“We’re gonna make sure the candidates, in a runoff, have a chance to debate each other so that our electors know who they’re voting for,” England said. “A lot of people might not understand it, but I think it’s a huge win.”

England also championed a ban on ranked-choice voting, or instant-runoff voting, which prohibited the process where voters can rank multiple candidates for a single office. That change will go into effect on July 1 of this year.

There was some pushback in the process of getting both bills to the finish line, primarily over concerns that extra time would hurt voter turnout and heighten campaign expenses. But England thinks it will allow all parties concerned to be more prepared in a cleaner process.

“These are good, cleanup changes,” England said.

England said the bills were part of a busy legislative session in 2024, and expects a similarly busy session in 2025 following the upcoming federal elections.

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