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Activate Mississippi

About Activate Mississippi

Activate Mississippi is the SPLC's umbrella initiative by which we seek to bridge the worlds of arts, activism and voter education. Activate Mississippi applies a cultural approach to civic engagement and community. The initiative provides real-time information to assist voters and other community stakeholders in key decision making. We do this by working with the community stakeholders and experts to host discussion tables, town halls, public awareness campaigns and any other necessary and niche activities to meet and service the needs of the community.

To further the work of the initiative this year, we have elected to launch a voter engagement and registration campaign to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Freedom Summer of 1964 and share a very important cornerstone – to register Black voters in Mississippi through our The Road to 60: Reigniting the Fight for Freedom Voter Education and Empowerment campaign.

About The Road to 60 Campaign

Civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer once said, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” In 2023, Mississippi came the closest it’s come since 1999 to electing a progressive governor. The 2023 election was decided by approximately 26,619 votes. According to the Associated Press, from April 1 through Oct. 1, roughly 33,000 people filled out voter registration forms. About 300 were rejected, and more than 32,000 other voters were moved from active to inactive status, essentially canceling out the cycle’s voter registration efforts – reducing the active voter increase to 334, or 0.02%, bringing the active voter roll to 1.92 million as of October 1. The Road to 60: Reigniting the Fight for Freedom Voter Education and Empowerment campaign is a geo targeted voter registration effort that seeks to register 60,000 new or inactive voters in Mississippi, increasing our voter registration numbers by 44%.

Like the 1964 Freedom Summer project, The Road to 60 campaign will draw the nation’s attention to the violent oppression experienced by Black and Brown people in Mississippi today.

Through this campaign we bring together civic engagement partners and community stakeholders and others who are committed to building and sustaining a free and fair electoral ecosystem in the state of Mississippi.

By bringing together all the key partners and stakeholders, we are able to fully assess the issues that are directly affecting each community; gain a better understanding of any barriers and/or political, economic, sociological, or technological challenges that might exist; and identify the proper tools for defining and measuring success, drive toward desired outcomes and be able to gauge our impact over time.

What You Need to Know About Policy That May Impact Your Participation

During its 2023 session, the Mississippi State Legislature passed several pieces of legislation to further erode voting rights in the state of Mississippi. Among these pieces of legislation was a bill that specifically targeted voter registration.

Here’s a look into how the bill undermines democracy and weakens the voting rights of Mississippians:

Voter Registration and Citizenship Check

House Bill 1310 expands on a law from last session mandating a voter’s registration be checked against the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the USCIS database. Under the revised law, a voter flagged by a citizenship check will be:

  • Removed from the voter rolls and placed on inactive status in the Statewide Election Management System.
  • Forced to vote via affidavit in elections.
  • Sent a “confirmation notice” from their respective election officials to which they must provide proof of citizenship to said official to regain active status on the voter rolls.

Why is this a problem?

Should a registered voter fail to verify their registration with the enumerated statutory documents within 30 days, they will be removed from the voter roll. The bill also creates Mississippi Code §23-15-152, which mandates the same removal process for anyone who misses two federal elections or three statewide elections. This removal is also triggered if the USPS reports a change of address, or if election officials receive “reliable information” [1] a voter has moved from their registered address. Should the affected voters fail to reply to the confirmation notice, they will be forced to vote via affidavit until they provide proof of residency.

Upcoming Events

August 15-17, 2024

The Road to 60: Organize, Mobilize, Defend and Win Training Summit will serve as the convening space for Mississippi-focused organizers and community-based change agents. The summit will bring together key stakeholders and community members for a weekend of organizing, strategizing and mobilizing in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer 1964 and will be held in Jackson, Mississippi. The summit will pay homage to the Mississippi Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement and Mississippi’s legacy of civil rights. | Call for proposals

Resources


Community Partners

  • City of Jackson
  • Electoral Justice Project
  • Faith for Black Lives
  • General Missionary Baptist State Convention
  • Jackson State University
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Mississippi Humanities Council
  • Mississippi State Conference of NAACP
  • Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project
  • Movement for Black Lives
  • MS Poor People’s Campaign
  • MS Votes
  • National Council of Churches
  • One Voice
  • People’s Advocacy Institute
  • Tougaloo College
  • When We All Vote
  • Women for Progress

[1] “Reliable information includes, but is not limited to: official mail returned as undeliverable by the county election commission, registrar or other county or municipal office, Secretary of State; application for homestead exemption filed by the voter at an address other than the address of current registration; or any information from another state or county entity indicating the voter no longer resides at the address of voter registration.”