PINE BELT (WDAM) - Mississippi continues to be one of the few states with severe limits on when citizens can vote early. Currently in our state, to vote by an absentee ballot, you must contact your Circuit or Municipal Clerk's office within 45 days of the election with an acceptable reason such as age, health, work demands or temporary relocation for educational purposes.
A proposal to change that policy failed to make it through the state legislature last year, but some lawmakers plan to try again this year.
The plan would be to allow all registered voters to cast ballots as early as two weeks in advance of the election date with no reason required. This could be a positive change.
According to the Associated Press, 37 states and the District of Columbia allow some form of early voting. Early voting offers many benefits, including convenience and flexibility; something that is especially important in a country where Election Day is not a national holiday and voters must cast their ballot during working hours.
We certainly want to preserve the integrity of the election process, but there is no reason why the process shouldn't be made a little more convenient for the many people who can't make it to the polls on election day. Currently, too few people are voting in Mississippi's elections.
Consider This: It is time for our state to join the majority of states and implement early voting. It would be a good way to get more people involved in our election process.