Amplifying Voices – How to Vote in Mississippi
Last week we discussed issues immigrant communities in the United States face when trying to cast their vote. While systematic issues have hindered voting before, the emergence of COVID-19 has presented additional challenges to ensuring equal access to voting.
In an effort to help address low voter turnout and remove barriers to participation, we’ll begin with a focus on the most difficult state to vote in during a pandemic – Mississippi.
What are the Barriers to Voting in Mississippi?
Here are some of the reasons why The Fulcrum, a non-partisan non-profit organization, places Mississippi at the top of the list:
There is no in-person early voting [in Mississippi]. There are no Election Day voting centers. Registering online is not allowed, registering by mail has to be done a month before the election — and, unlike every other state, applicants who are naturalized citizens must provide documentary proof.
Mississippi is also alone in having enacted only one of the 11 top policies that make balloting easier in a pandemic: No ID is required to vote by mail. But applying for an absentee ballot has to be done on paper, and the form allows just two acceptable excuses — being disabled or being out of town on Election Day.
Who Could Use Help With Voting in Mississippi?
In a breakdown of top five non-English languages spoken in Mississippi, we can see that a significant portion of the population may not have ready access to educational voting material in their native language, making it difficult to navigate voting regulations:
|# of Speakers||Language||% of Speakers that speak |
English below “Very Well”