With much county business now being conducted on the front steps of a courthouse shuttered against the COVID-19 epidemic, registering to vote is a problem.
In an interview with Y’all Politics, Secretary of State Michael Watson discussed some of his plans for this election year.
“Lord willing, this is going to be in our rearview mirror come November,” he said in that interview, “but we are going to plan and prepare like it’s not.”
One thing he is considering is online voter registration.
Currently you are required to fill out a form and deliver it in person to the circuit clerk’s office in your district to be eligible to vote. This has been problematic with public access so restricted during this pandemic. Watson said this is a possible change in the voting process that has been talked about and could be helpful going forward.
“There is an appetite out there for online voter registration. You’ve got 38, 39 states that already do it,” he told Y’all Politics. “It is something that I initially thought that is just not a good idea, but the more I researched, the more I thought this might be a good thing for Mississippi.”
George County Circuit Clerk Chad Welford said he has heard rumblings about online voter registration but has not seen anything come down from the state on it. “If it is done correctly, I don’t see it being much different than someone filling out a paper form and bringing it into our office.”
Welford said he suspected voters would register online through the Secretary of State’s office and the information pushed down to the individual counties.
This may be a timely modification to voting laws, COVID-19 pandemic or not.