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Officials Moved Polling Places for 18,630 Mississippi Voters Ahead of Election, Secretary of State Says

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson, seen here holding up a sample ballot in an informational video today, told reporters on Tuesday that the state has registered at least 113,000 new voters in 2020. Photo courtesy Secretary of State Michael Watson

Since the spring, local Mississippi officials have moved 17 polling places that serve about 18,630 voters, Secretary of State Michael Watson announced Tuesday. The changes took place after the March 10 party primaries.

The polling-place changes happened in 12 counties: Chickasaw, Greene, Harrison, Hinds, Lafayette, Leake, Lee, Marion, Noxubee, Simpson, Stone and Sunflower. You can view where precinct changes happened with the map below and the chart at the bottom of this story.

“We, months ago, started telling our precincts and our circuit clerks to make sure if you think there’s going to be a change to let us know in advance,” Watson said in a press conference on Tuesday. “The Board of Supervisors choose where the precincts are located. Once they do that, they are supposed to mail out or notify their voters. But also, if a precinct moves, they need to make sure there is clear notice at the old precinct, so if someone shows up, they know where to go.”

If a voter is unsure where to vote, Watson said, they can use the polling-place locator tool on the secretary of state’s website to find out where their polling places are located. He urged voters to also get in touch with their local circuit clerk and election commissioners if they have any questions.

Since the start of 2020, Watson said, Mississippi has welcomed more than 113,000 newly registered voters to its rolls.

“It’s going to be a big number, and I’m excited about that. I think it’s important that Mississippians are turning out,” he said.

Watson said 80,000 more Mississippians have already requested absentee ballots than in the entirety of the 2016 election. His office is reporting at least 190,000 absentee ballots requested, compared to just 110,000 during the last presidential election. 

Detailed charts and a map showing absentee-vote totals are available at mfp.ms/voting. The American Press Institute’s Trusted Elections Network provided support for this project.

There is technically no deadline to request a mail-in absentee ballot, but the secretary of state advised voters to request one by Oct. 24 to avoid mail delays. Voters can still cast absentee ballots in person until Saturday, Oct. 31.

In Mississippi, voters may request absentee ballots for a limited number of people: 

  • Those who plan to be outside of the county on Election Day for any reason
  • Students, teachers or school administrators (or a spouse or dependent of one) whose studies or work requires them to be absent on Election Day
  • People who have a temporary or permanent physical disability that makes it difficult for them to vote in person without significant hardship (or the spouse or dependent thereof)
  • Those ages 65 and older
  • Those who must work on Election Day during the times the polls are open
  • Members, spouses and dependents of Mississippi’s congressional delegation
  • Those who must be at work during Election Day at the times the polls are open
  • Disabled war veterans in a hospital (or the spouse of dependent thereof)
  • Members of the Merchant Marine or the American Red Cross (or the spouse or dependent thereof)
  • The parent, spouse or dependent who will be caring for someone on Election Day who has a temporary or permanent physical disability who is hospitalized outside the county where they vote or more than 50 miles away

Mississippians who qualify to vote absentee have until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31, to vote in-person at their circuit clerk’s office. Mississippians who requested an absentee mail ballot must have it postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3.

The secretary of state’s office is recommending that voters who opted for mail ballots send them back as soon as possible, but Mississippi will count ballots postmarked by Election Day so long as they are received within five business days of the election. For more information, visit sos.ms.gov/vote.


Corrections: An earlier version of this story said the deadline to request a mail-in absentee ballot was Oct. 24. That is incorrect. There is technically no deadline to request a mail-in absentee ballot, but the secretary of state advised voters to request one by Oct. 24 to avoid mail delays. Voters can still cast absentee ballots in person until Saturday, Oct. 31; This story originally incorrectly stated the number of voters affected by these 17 precinct changes as 5,000; the actual number is about 18,630.

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