Requirements to vote absentee in the upcoming general election still undecided
By Anna Kate Doiron | The Vicksburg Post
Concern over COVID-19 has resulted in Warren County Circuit Clerk Jan Daigre receiving phone calls from voters asking about absentee voting for the upcoming general election on Nov. 3.
“If you are able, it is essential to go to the polls,” Daigre said. But some people are worried about voting during a time when there is the potential for the spread of the COVID-19 virus. And that reason alone does not currently allow a voter to vote absentee.
Warren County Election Commission Chairman Sara Dionne said the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office has requested an opinion from the state Attorney General’s office to clarify requirements to vote absentee. One of the issues involves fear of contracting COVID-19 as a valid reason.
Aug. 11, a group of individuals filed a lawsuit in Hinds County Chancery Court asking a judge to issue a statewide declaration allowing absentee voting by people with health conditions that could put them in extra danger because of the highly contagious virus. The plaintiffs include people who have had cancer or who have other conditions, including lupus and asthma.
Dionne said state election officials are waiting for an answer, but those who are more sensitive to the effects of the virus can always use a temporary “disabled” excuse.
Daigre emphasized the importance of telling the truth on the absentee application.
“When you sign the absentee application, you’re signing that you’re telling the truth,” she said.
Daigre said she expects more than 2,000 absentee ballots for this year’s election compared to an average of 1,800 in previous years.
Absentee voting for the Nov. 3 election begins Sept. 21 and extends through Oct. 31. Applications for absentee ballots will be ready Sept. 8.
Once a registered voter completes an application, it must be sent back to the Warren County Circuit Clerk’s office. Then, if approved, an absentee ballot will be sent to the voter.
Voters interested in applying to vote absentee should call the Warren County Circuit Clerk’s office at 601-636-3961.
Anna Kate is a graduate of St. Aloysius High School and a student at the University of Mississippi. She has contributed to The Post over the past few weeks as an intern staff writer.
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