Mississippi primary election laws: What you need to know

Mississippi primary election laws: What you need to know
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You have lots of choices for the statewide primaries. Your first choice is which party primary you’ll vote in. But beware, you can’t switch parties between the primary and runoff.

“Once you pick one stream to vote in, Democrat or Republican, then you’ve got to vote in that stream throughout the rest of the primary runoff process,” said Mississippi College Law professor Matt Steffey.

State law actually references that you shouldn’t vote in a party primary unless you intend to vote for that party’s nominee in the general election. But, Steffey makes this note.

“I think it’s unenforceable at the polls and again causes more problems than it solves as a matter of law,” said Steffey.

He says it would put the decision making squarely on the poll worker to determine intent and there’s no way to gauge that.

“On its face, it raises really serious Constitutional concerns," Steffey says. "Because pledging in advance to an unknown candidate. That kind of fealty is un-American and I believe arguably violates the first amendment rights of a voter. A person can sincerely intend that on primary day and through the arguments and issues raised through the campaign change their mind.”

Mississippi Votes is an organization working with young people who may have moved from a state where election laws are different.

“We’re definitely here to break down the language," adds Hannah Williams with Mississippi Votes. "Because we definitely feel like that is part of the barrier that keeps people from being frequent voters and keeps young people disengaged.”

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