Mississippi

Snapshot: Mississippi has poor scores for ease of voting, ballot security and how its elected officials responded to claims about the 2020 election.

Ease of Voting

Few measures to expand access
2 out of 7 benchmarks

Ballot Security

Some measures to ensure accuracy and security
3 out of 8 benchmarks

What Politicians Say

Several responses that undermined the 2020 election
2 out of 4 benchmarks

The state has made only minor changes to election law since 2020, including making it easier for naturalized citizens to register to vote. Lawmakers also banned private donations from helping run elections.


Ease of Voting

Is the state making it easy for eligible voters to register and cast a ballot?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Mississippi compares to other states
Mississippi
Other states
← Easier to vote
Harder →
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Number of total benchmarks met

In 2019, Mississippi was sued over its system for checking the citizenship of newly registered voters.

Under the system in place then, the secretary of state cross-referenced the state driver’s license and ID database, which the Mississippi Center for Justice said was often out of date, given that some people apply for a driver’s license as a non-citizen and then are naturalized later.

In 2022, Republican Governor Tate Reeves signed legislation that requires the secretary of state to also check the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements database.

The legislation also repealed a 1924 law requiring new citizens to present a certification of naturalization when registering to vote.

Now, only voters whose citizenship status is flagged after a search of state and federal databases will need to show proof of naturalization.

After the law was signed, the Mississippi Center for Justice dropped the lawsuit.


Ballot Security

Is the state following best practices to ensure ballot counting is accurate and timely?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Mississippi compares to other states
Mississippi
Other states
← More secure
Less secure →
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Number of total benchmarks met

Another new law barred elections officials from accepting private donations to run elections, such as the grants the state received from Meta Platforms Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg in 2020.

Read More: Zuckerberg’s Election Aid Spurs GOP Drive in 30 States to Ban It

Mississippi has not addressed one of the biggest problems with its voting machines, however.

According to the nonpartisan Verified Voting Foundation, nearly 32% of touchscreen voting machines in Mississippi do not produce a paper record of the vote, the fifth-highest percentage among US states.


How Politicians Responded to the 2020 Election

What did the state do in the aftermath of Trump's defeat?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How Mississippi compares to other states
Mississippi
Other states
← Fewer efforts to undermine 2020 election
More →
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Number of total benchmarks met

Reeves has repeatedly criticized vote-by-mail and early voting in other states in the 2020 election, saying they led to “too much chaos.” In interviews, he’s refused to answer direct questions about whether Biden won “fair and square” or was “legitimately and lawfully elected,” saying only that Biden was certified by the states and by Congress.

Attorney General Lynn Fitch and all three of Mississippi’s Republican US representatives supported the Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to intervene in the election.

US Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and the three representatives objected to Biden electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania.


Read the full methodology
Story by: Ryan Teague Beckwith and Bill Allison
Graphics by: Paul Murray, Allison McCartney and Mira Rojanasakul
With assistance by: Rachael Dottle, Marie Patino, Jenny Zhang, Gregory Korte, Romy Varghese, Vincent Del Giudice, Nathan Crooks, Margaret Newkirk, Shruti Date Singh, David Welch, Elise Young, Dina Bass, Brendan Walsh, Carey Goldberg and Maria Wood
Editors: Wendy Benjaminson, Wes Kosova, Alex Tribou and Yue Qiu
Photo editors: Eugene Reznik, Marisa Gertz and Maria Wood
Photo credits: Getty Images, Bloomberg and AP Photo