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Hinds County Moved Two Polling Places Hours Before Polls Opened

a chest-up photo of David Archie in a suit and tie
Just hours before voters headed to the polls for Mississippi’s Aug. 8, 2023, primaries, Hinds County District 2 Supervisor David Archie announced on the evening of Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, that the Pinehaven voting precinct had abruptly moved from Sumner Hill Jr. High School to the Clinton Fire Station; officials also announced the sudden decision to move Precinct 01 from the Eudora Welty Library to the Old Capitol Inn. Photo courtesy Hinds County / Sharon Sims

Unlike 21 states and the District of Columbia, Mississippi has no same-day voter registration; prospective voters must register 30 days before an election in order to cast a ballot. But local officials are free to change polling locations right up until the day of an election—and that’s exactly what Hinds County did on the eve of the August 2023 party primaries.

Just shy of 6 p.m. Monday, Hinds County officials announced that they were moving two precincts just over 13 hours before polls open for the party primaries for statewide, legislative and county offices. Hinds County Supervisor David L. Archie, a Democrat, said in an email to select media outlets (not including this one) that the Pinehaven precinct was moving from Sumner Hill Jr. High School to the Clinton Fire Station; County Administrator Kenneth Wayne Jones said in a separate email that officials had decided to move Precinct 01 from the Eudora Welty Library to the Old Capitol Inn.

Archie did not give a reason in the email for the sudden move for Pinehaven; Jones said in his email that Precinct 01 moved “due to complications related to space and handicap accessibility,” but did not explain further. The Mississippi Secretary of State’s office shared copies of the emails with the Mississippi Free Press on Monday evening to alert the publication of these changes. Neither Archie nor Jones responded to a request for comment by press time Monday evening.

Hinds County has used Sumner Hill Jr. High School and the Eudora Welty Library as polling places since at least 2020, this publication’s past voting precinct investigations show. It is not clear why the use of these precincts suddenly became untenable just hours before a primary election following years of voting there. The last-minute changes do not, of course, give election officials time to notify voters that their polling places have moved.

The addresses for the moved polling places are as follows:

Precinct 01
Old Capitol Inn
226 N. State St.
Jackson, MS 39201

Pinehaven
Clinton Fire Station
1973 Pinehaven Drive
Clinton, MS 39056

Earlier Monday, the Mississippi Free Press published a full list of voting precincts for the 2023 election and a list of 161 voting precincts where election officials across the state have made changes, including closing, moving or opening new precincts. Those lists have both been updated with the Hinds County changes, bringing the total number of precinct changes since the 2022 general election to 163.

The polls are open in Mississippi from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m on Tuesday, Aug. 8. For information on voting in the primaries, read our voter guide. For more on voting and the 2023 elections, visit mfp.ms/voting.

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