‘Y’all Vote’ Site Helps Mississippians Navigate the Election Process

Changes of name and address can now be filed through Mississippi's "Y'all Vote" website, which aims to help residents avoid any conflicts on election day.

by Bobby Harrison, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo / September 15, 2016

(TNS) -- Mississippi’s registered voters are required by law to report changes of address to their local circuit clerk to ensure they are voting in the correct polling place.

Now, they can make that change online via the Mississippi’s Secretary of State’s Y’all Vote website. Other changes that could be made online include a name change caused of a change in marital status.

“Using modern technology to streamline the process for registered voters to update their information makes sense for voters and circuit clerks,” said Gov. Phil Bryant in a prepared statement.

Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Senate Elections Chair Sally Doty of Brookhaven announced the technology update Wednesday during a news conference from the governor’s media room in the Sillers Office Building.

The news conference took place after a meeting of the state Elections Commission, which consists of Bryant, Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood, where the ballot was approved with no controversy for the Nov. 8 election.

The www.yallvote.sos.ms.gov website, which also includes other features to make it easier to navigate the elections process, will be available for the Nov. 8 election where Mississippians will vote for president, U.S. congressional candidates and judges.

The change to allow registered voters to make address changes online was part of an election package proposed by Hosemann during the 2016 session. The Legislature balked at Hosemann’s more ambitious proposals – primarily online voter registration and early voting – but agreed to the change to allow registered voters to report their change of residency online.

“We were looking to take one step at a time,” Doty said at the news conference.

She said this will give state officials time to ensure the system is secure and that registered voters’ personal information is protected.

Bryant agreed. “I think we are beginning that (online voter registration) process,” he said.

In order to use the website to make the change of address, a person will need the information on his or her voter registration card and on the person’s drivers’ license.

With that information, Hosemann said, “It will take you about a minute” to make the changes.

To register to vote for the first time, which must be done 30 days before the election, a person still must go to the county circuit clerk’s office.

Hosemann said the change of address can be made online right up to the election. And when people make that change, they should go to their new precinct to vote. But if the change is made on the website late in the process, the person may have to vote via affidavit ballot at the new precinct, though, the vote still should count.

The website will have other features, such as a process to allow people to locate their precinct.

“Making it more convenient for Mississippi voters to change pre-existing information while ensuring the security and accuracy of information submitted was the ultimate goal of Y’all Vote,” Hosemann said in prepared remarks. “However, there are numerous other benefits, including saving taxpayers’ time and money.”

Hosemann said about 80 percent of eligible Mississippians are registered to vote – about 1.8 million. He said that percentage is higher than most other states.

©2016 the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, Miss.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.