The Political Process in Mississippi

Why is there no early voting in MS & how does the electoral college work?

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Unlike many other states in the U.S., Mississippi does not have early voting.

WJTV takes a closer look at the political process, including the logic behind the electoral college.

Gov. Phil Bryant has been critical of the electoral college for some time now.

“It’s the system we have now, so it’s the system we will be working with now and into the future,” He said on Tuesday before Donald Trump was announced as the winner of the election. “But again I think there are opportunities for us to make it better. I’m not on a level to make that decision. A Congressman might be able to, but I still think we should look at maybe apportionment of states and look at who receives the majority of the votes.”

The electoral college has been in place since 1789. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win, and you get one elector for every representative in Congress. That means there is a total of six electoral votes for Mississippi.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump collected more electoral votes.

A winner with less popular votes has happened before. George W. Bush lost the popular vote but still won enough electoral votes to become president in 2000. It did happen three other times, but all before 1900.

The election has also brought up questions about when Mississippians vote. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says early voting is only for the disabled or people over age 65.

Absentee voting depends on age, health, work demands, or whether you’re attending school somewhere else or affiliation with the U.S. Armed Forces.

Jennifer Riley Collins at the ACLU of Mississippi said since 2008, measures like voter ID have lead to voter suppression.

“While measures that would increase access to the polls, like in-person early voting and extended voting hours, online registration, those measures have not been passed here in the state of Mississippi,” she said.

To get early voting in the state, it has to be approved by our legislature. Riley Collins aggressively advocated for early voting and online registration during the 2016 session.

However, those measures died.

There are some state leaders who support early voting, like Attorney General Jim Hood. He told WJTV back in October that absentee voting is a problem, and early voting is what we need.

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