Bill Text: MS SB2464 | 2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Voter registration; applicants must submit documentation proving U.S. citizenship.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Failed) 2019-02-05 - Died In Committee [SB2464 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2019-SB2464-Introduced.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2019 Regular Session

To: Elections

By: Senator(s) Hill

Senate Bill 2464

AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT ANY PERSON SUBMITTING A VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATION MUST PRESENT CERTAIN DOCUMENTS TO PROVE HIS OR HER STATUS AS A UNITED STATES CITIZEN; TO AMEND SECTIONS 23-15-33, 23-15-39 AND 23-15-47, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  Any person submitting an application to be registered as an elector in compliance with the laws of this state  must provide one (1) of the following documents to prove his or her United States citizenship:

          (a)  A birth certificate or a legible photocopy of the birth certificate;

          (b)  A United States passport, or a legible photocopy of the pertinent pages of the passport, identifying the person and showing the passport number;

          (c)  A United States naturalization documentation, a legible photocopy of the naturalization documentation, or the number of the voter's certificate of naturalization; except that any person who provides the number of the certificate of naturalization in lieu of the naturalization documentation shall not be deemed to have provided proof of citizenship until the registrar verifies the number with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security or its successor; or

          (d)  Any document or method of proof of citizenship established by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Public Law 99-603, compiled in 8 U.S.C. Section 1101 et seq.

     SECTION 2.  Section 23-15-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     23-15-33.  (1)  Every person entitled to be registered as an elector in compliance with the laws of this state and who (a) has signed his or her name on and properly completed the application for registration to vote and (b) has submitted proof of his or her United States citizenship as provided in Section 1 of this act shall be registered by the county registrar in the voting precinct of the residence of such person through the Statewide Elections Management System.

     (2)  Every person entitled to be registered as an elector in compliance with the laws of this state and who registers to vote pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 shall be registered by the county registrar in the voting precinct of the residence of such person through the Statewide Elections Management System.

     SECTION 3.  Section 23-15-39, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     23-15-39.  (1)  Applications for registration as electors of this state, which are sworn to and subscribed before the registrar or deputy registrar authorized by law and which are not made by mail, shall be made upon a form established by rule duly adopted by the Secretary of State.  Applications for registration shall include a portion allowing the applicant to indicate his or her United States citizenship status and shall instruct the applicant to submit proof of such citizenship by presenting a document listed in Section 1 of this act.

     (2)  The boards of supervisors shall make proper allowances for office supplies reasonably necessitated by the registration of county electors.

     (3)  If the applicant indicates on the application that he or she resides within the city limits of a city or town in the county of registration, the county registrar shall process the application for registration or changes to the registration as provided by law.

     (4)  If the applicant indicates on the application that he or she has previously registered to vote in another county of this state or another state, notice to the voter's previous county of registration in this state shall be provided by the Statewide Elections Management System.  If the voter's previous place of registration was in another state, notice shall be provided to the voter's previous state of residence if the Statewide Elections Management System has that capability.

     (5)  The county registrar shall provide to the person making the application a copy of the application upon which has been written the county voting precinct and municipal voting precinct, if any, in which the person shall vote.  Upon entry of the voter registration information into the Statewide Elections Management System, the system shall assign a voter registration number to the person, and the county registrar shall mail the applicant a voter registration card to the mailing address provided on the application.

     (6)  Any person desiring an application for registration may secure an application from the registrar of the county of which he or she is a resident and may take the application with him or her and secure assistance in completing the application from any person of the applicant's choice.  It shall be the duty of all registrars to furnish applications for registration to all persons requesting them, and it shall likewise be the registrar's duty to furnish aid and assistance in the completing of the application when requested by an applicant.  The application for registration shall be sworn to and subscribed before the registrar or deputy registrar at the municipal clerk's office, the county registrar's office or any other location where the applicant is allowed to register to vote.  The registrar shall not charge a fee or cost to the applicant for accepting the application or administering the oath or for any other duty imposed by law regarding the registration of electors.

     (7)  If the person making the application is unable to read or write, for reason of disability or otherwise, he or she shall not be required to personally complete the application in writing and execute the oath.  In such cases, the registrar or deputy registrar shall read the application and oath to the person and the person's answers thereto shall be recorded by the registrar or the registrar's deputy.  The person shall be registered as an elector if he or she otherwise meets the requirements to be registered as an elector.  The registrar shall record the responses of the person and the recorded responses shall be retained permanently by the registrar.  The county registrar shall enter the voter registration information into the Statewide Elections Management System and designate the entry as an assisted filing.

     (8)  The receipt of a copy of the application for registration sent pursuant to Section 23-15-35(2) shall be sufficient to allow the applicant to be registered as an elector of this state, if the application is not challenged.

     (9)  In any case in which the corporate boundaries of a municipality change, whether by annexation or redistricting, the municipal clerk shall, within ten (10) days after approval of the change in corporate boundaries, provide to the county registrar conforming geographic data that is compatible with the Statewide Elections Management System.  The data shall be developed by the municipality's use of a standardized format specified by the Statewide Elections Management System.  The county registrar, county election commissioner or other county official, who has completed an annual training seminar sponsored by the Secretary of State pertaining to the implementation of new boundary lines in the Statewide Elections Management System and received certification for that training, shall update the municipal boundary information into the Statewide Elections Management System.  The Statewide Elections Management System updates the municipal voter registration records and assigns electors to their municipal voting precincts.  The county registrar shall forward to the municipal clerk written notification of the additions and changes, and the municipal clerk shall forward to the affected municipal electors written notification of the additions and changes.

     SECTION 4.  Section 23-15-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     23-15-47.  (1)  Any person who is qualified to register to vote in the State of Mississippi may register to vote by mail-in application in the manner prescribed in this section.

     (2)  The following procedure shall be used in the registration of electors by mail:

          (a)  Any qualified elector may register to vote by mailing or delivering a completed mail-in application to his or her county registrar at least thirty (30) days before any election; however, if the thirtieth day to register before an election falls on a Sunday or legal holiday, the registration applications submitted on the business day immediately following the Sunday or legal holiday shall be accepted and entered into the Statewide Elections Management System for the purpose of enabling voters to vote in the next election.  The postmark date of a mailed application shall be the applicant's date of registration.

          (b)  Upon receipt of a mail-in application, the county registrar shall stamp the application with the date of receipt, and shall verify the application either by matching the applicant's Mississippi driver's license number through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety or by matching the applicant's social security number through the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.  Additionally, the county registrar shall verify that the applicant has submitted  proof of his or her United States citizenship by attaching a document listed in Section 1 of this act to the application.  Within fourteen (14) days of receipt of a mail-in registration application, the county registrar shall complete action on the application, including any attempts to notify the applicant of the status of his or her application.

          (c)  If the county registrar determines that the applicant is qualified and his or her application is legible and complete, the county registrar shall mail the applicant written notification that the application has been approved, specifying the county voting precinct, municipal voting precinct, if any, polling place and supervisor district in which the person shall vote.  This written notification of approval containing the specified information shall be the voter's registration card.  The registration card shall be provided by the county registrar to the applicant in accordance with Section 23-15-39.  Upon entry of the voter registration information into the Statewide Elections Management System, the system shall assign a voter registration number to the applicant.  The assigned voter registration number shall be clearly shown on the written notification of approval.  In mailing the written notification, the county registrar shall note the following on the envelope:  "DO NOT FORWARD".  If any registration notification form is returned as undeliverable, the voter's registration shall be void.

          (d)  A mail-in application shall be rejected for any of the following reasons:

              (i)  An incomplete portion of the application makes it impossible for the registrar to determine the eligibility of the applicant to register;

              (ii)  A portion of the application is illegible in the opinion of the county registrar and makes it impossible to determine the eligibility of the applicant to register;

              (iii)  The county registrar is unable to determine, from the address and information stated on the application, the precinct in which the voter should be assigned or the supervisor district in which he or she is entitled to vote;

              (iv)  The applicant is not qualified to register to vote pursuant to Section 23-15-11;

              (v)  The county registrar determines that the applicant is already registered as a qualified elector of the county;

              (vi)  The county registrar is unable to verify the application pursuant to subsection (2)(b) of this section.

          (e)  If the mail-in application of a person is subject to rejection for any of the reasons set forth in paragraph (d)(i) through (iii) of this subsection, and it appears to the county registrar that the defect or omission is of such a minor nature and that any necessary additional information may be supplied by the applicant over the telephone or by further correspondence, the county registrar may write or call the applicant at the telephone number or address, or both, provided on the application.  If the county registrar is able to contact the applicant by mail or telephone, the county registrar shall attempt to ascertain the necessary information, and if this information is sufficient for the registrar to complete the application, the applicant shall be registered.  If the necessary information cannot be obtained by mail or telephone, or is not sufficient to complete the application within fourteen (14) days of receipt, the county registrar shall give the applicant written notice of the rejection and provide the reason for the rejection.  The county registrar shall further inform the applicant that he or she has a right to attempt to register by appearing in person or by filing another mail-in application.

          (f)  If a mail-in application is subject to rejection for the reason stated in paragraph (d)(v) of this subsection and the "present home address" portion of the application is different from the residence address for the applicant found in the Statewide Elections Management System, the mail-in application shall be deemed a written request to update the voter's registration pursuant to Section 23-15-13.  The county registrar or the election commissioners shall update the voter's residence address in the Statewide Elections Management System and, if necessary, advise the voter of a change in the location of his or her county or municipal polling place by mailing the voter a new voter registration card.

     (3)  The instructions and the application form for voter registration by mail shall be in a form established by rule duly adopted by the Secretary of State.

     (4)  (a)  The Secretary of State shall prepare and furnish without charge the necessary forms for application for voter registration by mail to each county registrar, municipal clerk, all public schools, each private school that requests such applications, and all public libraries.

          (b)  The Secretary of State shall distribute without charge sufficient forms for application for voter registration by mail to the Commissioner of Public Safety, who shall distribute the forms to each driver's license examining and renewal station in the state, and shall ensure that the forms are regularly available to the public at such stations.

          (c)  Bulk quantities of forms for application for voter registration by mail shall be furnished by the Secretary of State to any person or organization.  The Secretary of State shall charge a person or organization the actual cost he or she incurs in providing bulk quantities of forms for application for voter registration to such person or organization.

     (5)  The originals of completed mail-in applications shall remain on file in the office of the county registrar with copies retained in the Statewide Elections Management System.

     (6)  If the applicant indicates on the application that he or she resides within the city limits of a city or town in the county of registration, the county registrar shall enter the information into the Statewide Elections Management System.

     (7)  If the applicant indicates on the application that he or she has previously registered to vote in another county of this state or another state, notice to the voter's previous county of registration in this state shall be provided through the Statewide Elections Management System.  If the voter's previous place of registration was in another state, notice shall be provided to the voter's previous state of residence.

     (8)  Any person who attempts to register to vote by mail shall be subject to the penalties for false registration provided for in Section 23-15-17.

     SECTION 5.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2019.


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