Mississippi absentee voting continues to increase

Published 4:14 pm Monday, October 26, 2020

Absentee voting in Mississippi is continuing at a brisk pace, the state’s top elections official said Monday.

Secretary of State Michael Watson said nearly 170,000 absentee ballots had been requested and about 142,600 of those had been completed and returned by Sunday. That compares to 103,000 total absentee ballots that were cast in the state during the 2016 election, the last time a presidential race was on the ballot. This year’s absentee numbers surpassed the 2016 numbers a week ago.

Mississippi is one of five states without no-excuses early voting. Absentee voting in Mississippi is available to anyone who is 65 or older or who has a temporary or permanent disability. It is also available to people who have to work on Election Day when polls are open or to people who will be out of town on Election Day, including college students.

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People may cast and absentee ballot by mail or at a circuit clerk’s office. The state’s deadline for in-person absentee voting is Oct. 31. Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, which is Nov. 3, and must be received within five business days.

Mississippi is expanding access to curbside voting for people with symptoms of COVID-19 and setting a new process to let voters correct minor discrepancies with signatures on absentee ballots. The changes are being made after voting-rights groups sued the state in federal court.