Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Wednesday that bans ballot harvesting in the state ahead of his 2023 reelection bid.
Reeves, who is running for his second term this year, signed Senate Bill 2358 into law, prohibiting ballot harvesting in Mississippi. The bill only allows certain individuals to “knowingly collect and transmit” ballots, including election officials on duty and family members delivering on behalf of their relatives.
“Across the country, we’ve seen how bad actors have used ballot harvesting to take advantage of elderly and vulnerable voters in other states, all so they can try to circumvent our democratic process and cut you out of it. But here in Mississippi, we’re just not going to let that happen,” Reeves said.
Other instances where the collection and delivery is permitted is when the USPS, a caregiver or a paid “common carrier” transport the ballots, and the “parcel” may only contain one ballot, according to the bill.
Across the US, bad actors have used ballot harvesting to take advantage of elderly & vulnerable voters – all so they can circumvent our democratic process & cut you out of it.
Today, we banned ballot harvesting in Mississippi.
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) March 22, 2023
The bill furthers Mississippi’s election integrity laws, and “builds on” House Bill 1510 that banned illegal immigrants and “non-citizens” from voting in the state, according to the governor.
“Senate Bill 2358 is now law, and Mississippi’s elections are safer because of it,” said Reeves. “Here, we will make it easy to vote, and hard to cheat.” (RELATED: Republican Mississippi Gov. Leads Dem Challenger In Reelection Bid: POLL)
The governor nodded to the Republican National Committee (RNC) poll that found 87% of American voters are opposed to ballot harvesting. Reeves said he stands with these voters, and will continue to uphold “the absolute integrity” of Mississippi’s election process.
The RNC has been ramping up efforts to bolster election integrity as it remains an important issue to Republicans following the 2020 election. While Mississippi is banning ballot harvesting, many other states allow third parties to collect and deliver their ballots.
Reeves was elected as Mississippi’s 65th governor in 2019, and is running for reelection this year. The governor will go up against Democratic candidate Brandon Presley on Nov. 7, who trails Reeves by 7 percentage points in a state poll.
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