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SBEC makes changes to Military Voting

State Board of Election Commissioners change Military Voting
Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General work in conjunction with Department of Justice to ensure integrity of Military and Overseas voting


Jackson, Miss.—Recently, the Secretary of State’s Office was notified by the Department of Justice current state law conflicts with federal military and overseas voting laws. 

Recent changes to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) require states to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters who request them at least forty-five (45) days before an election for federal office.  State law provides only twenty-one (21) days between a Primary Election and a Primary Run-off Election.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and the men and women of the Armed Forces understand that better than anyone because they are the ones fighting to defend that freedom,” Governor Phil Bryant said.  “The State is working to ensure that military voters have the opportunity to make their voices heard in the electoral process while they are away from home.” 

“Rather than be sued by the federal government for failing to comply with federal law, the State Board of Election Commissioners have decided to provide military voters with both their Primary and Primary Run-off ballot when electronically transmitting overseas absentee ballots,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.  “Mississippi is a leading State in allowing electronic voting for the military, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Military and overseas voters will rank the candidates of their choice for the Primary Run-off ballot, in a so-called “ranked choice” ballot.  When the Primary Run-off ballot is returned to the Circuit Clerk’s Office with the Primary Election ballot, it will be placed in a separate absentee ballot envelope in the event there is a Primary Run-off election.

Only nine states are slated to hold a Primary Run-off Election in the 2014 Federal election cycle.  Of the nine (9) states, four (4) hold their Primary Run-off Election less than forty-five (45) days after the Primary:  Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Carolina.  Alabama, Arkansas, and South Carolina also use a ranking-style ballot.