SPLC Project 'We Vote! Mississippi' Reviews September Successes, Focuses on Work Ahead
Project working to add hundreds more Mississippians to the voter rolls before October 7 deadline
JACKSON, Miss. - Today, We Vote! Mississippi, a voter engagement project led by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is announcing 785 completed voter registration forms collected to date in Hinds County and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) around the state. With the October 7 deadline for voter registration and Election Day fast approaching, We Vote! Mississippi will be ramping up efforts to register and mobilize as many eligible Mississippi voters as possible to vote in this year's statewide elections. The project began on September 19.
In a Wednesday, September 25 interview with Mississippi Public Broadcasting (beginning at the 9:50 minute mark here), senior staff attorney for the SPLC Caren Short said, "We know there are a number of demographics that are historically disenfranchised, and we want to make sure those folks’ voices are heard and that they have the resources they need to go out and vote."
"The project is off to a promising start," said Short today, "but there is always more work to be done before Election Day to ensure everyone who can vote registers before October 7 and fills out a ballot November 5. Too many obstacles are put in between eligible voters and the ballot box, so we’re doing what we can to eliminate barriers and ensure access to the ballot for everyone.
"When Mississippi makes it easy for every eligible voter to vote, the state will begin to see political leadership that looks like and reflects the will of Mississippians. Until then, the SPLC and Mississippi-based civic engagement organizations will work to ensure access to the polls for all Mississippians."
Reporters interested in embedding with a We Vote! Mississippi canvass shift in Hinds County or at Tougaloo College, a liberal arts HBCU in Jackson, please contact email@example.com.
We Vote! Mississippi is a $450,000 investment and part of the SPLC’s growing effort to expand its advocacy in the Deep South. In addition to litigation and its work in state legislatures, as the 2020 election cycle nears, the SPLC will mobilize historically disenfranchised communities and work to eliminate barriers to voting across the South. The SPLC already invested roughly $250,000 this year ahead of the state elections in Louisiana to register voters who are newly re-enfranchised and transient voters that historically drop off in gubernatorial election years. In 2018, the SPLC funded a $1.3 million campaign in Florida to inform and motivate voters ahead of an election that determined numerous amendments and revisions to the state’s constitution, including Amendment 4, which originally granted roughly 1.4 million Floridians with a prior felony conviction the right to vote.
For more information on the project, please go to www.wevotemississippi.org.