Request an absentee ballot
In Mississippi, requesting a ballot requires a reason, like being disabled or out of the country, beyond fear of covid-19. People with underlying medical conditions placing them at risk, those under physician-ordered quarantine or caring for a dependent under such a quarantine also qualify. You can find out more about acceptable reasons here
You can request an application at the county circuit clerk’s office. There is no deadline to request a ballot, but the Secretary of State’s office recommends doing so by Oct. 31. The U.S. Postal Service recommends voters request a ballot as soon as possible but not later than Oct. 19.
Your application must be notarized or, if you’re permanently disabled, include a witness signature.
Counties will start mailing ballots by Sept. 21.
Fill out your ballot
Mailed ballots need more than your vote. Most require at least one signature and can’t have any stray marks. They must be sent back in the envelope provided.
To complete your ballot you’ll need a notary.
Here’s a more detailed guide on how to make sure your ballot is counted. Be sure to follow the instructions that accompanied your ballot and contact your local election officials with any questions.
Return your ballot
Your ballot can only be returned by mail and only by you. Return postage for ballots is not guaranteed to be prepaid in Mississippi, but may be offered in your city or county.
To be counted, your ballot must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 10. Check with local officials for specific times. The U.S. Postal Service recommends voters mail their ballot at least one week prior to the state deadline, by Oct. 27.
Don’t wait too long! The U.S. Postal Service sent a warning to the Mississippi Secretary of State that deadlines did not allow enough time for mail delivery and could disenfranchise voters.
Your ballot is verified and counted
From identifying information and tracking bar codes on your ballot to signatures, a lot has gone into making sure your vote is accurate and will count by the time your ballot is returned.
In Mississippi, the signature submitted with your ballot will be checked against what election officials have on file. Mississippi does not require election officials to contact you before rejecting your ballot due to issues like a missing signature.
Absentee ballots may start being processed and formally counted after polls close on Election Day. Dates can vary based on jurisdiction size or the number of mail ballots sent.
Casting a ballot in person
In Mississippi, there is no early in-person voting at polling places. However, if you are meet certain requirements you may request, complete and submit an absentee ballot all at once at a designated location, such as your county clerk’s office, from Sept. 21 to Oct. 31. You can vote in person at the polls on Election Day, Nov. 3. Be sure to check your voting location ahead of time.
Mississippi requires you to show photo identification to cast a ballot in person. If you don’t have one, or forget to bring it, you may need to cast a provisional ballot, which will be counted once your eligibility is verified, or take other steps to confirm your identity. Ask a pollworker if you need to follow up.
Wearing a mask to vote in person is recommended.
You cannot vote in person if you requested an absentee ballot.
You’re all set
You can visit Mississippi’s election website for more details on voting. If you have any questions or issues or need to check the status of your provisional ballot contact your local elections officials.
Want to learn how to register to vote or vote by mail? You can with different choices.
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About this story
Editing by Reuben Fischer-Baum and Ann Gerhart. Copy editing by Briana R. Ellison and Brian Cleveland. Additional development by Lucio Villa. Illustrations by Abbey Lossing. Susan Berger, Mark Kreidler, Alan Neuhauser and Annette Nevins contributed to this report.
Voting information for this project was collected from official sources, including secretaries of state, county clerks and written election codes. In some cases, The Post used news reports, court opinions and published research from sources such as the National Conference of State Legislatures to check or verify details.
Illustrations in this piece should not be used as a precise guide for how to mark your ballot.
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