JANS – A federal court has granted a request by Disability Rights Mississippi, the League of Women Voters of Mississippi, and three Mississippi voters to block S.B. 2358 — a newly implemented state law that significantly diminishes access to the ballot for Mississippians who need assistance with voting.
Under the court’s order, Mississippi voters who need assistance due to disability, blindness, or inability to read or write may select a person of their choice to assist them with delivering or returning their absentee mail-in ballot. The court ruled S.B. 2358 violated Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the state cannot use that law to punish individuals who provide assistance to such voters.
The order will apply to the current primary election and the upcoming general election in November.
The case was filed on behalf of Disability Rights Mississippi and the League of Women Voters of Mississippi by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mississippi Center for Justice, American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of Mississippi.
The court order can be viewed at https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/drms-et-al-v-lynn-fitch-et-al-complaint.pdf.
“Senate Bill 2358 was a bad bill and a bad law. I applaud the federal court in its ruling to block the law and preserve Mississippians’ fundamental right to vote,” says Rep. Zakiya Summers (MS-68). “Let’s be clear – SB 2358 was a blatant attempt at voter suppression right here in Mississippi and clearly in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Without this decision, SB 2358 would have severely restricted the way Mississippians cast their ballot, jeopardizing your constitutional right and adding undue burdens to our men and women of the Armed Forces, the disabled, sick and shut in, our young people, and senior members in our communities. Instead of the leadership of our state putting barriers to the ballot box into law, we should make it easier for Mississippians to make their voices heard through measures like online voter registration, early voting, and voter restoration. Voting is the cornerstone to our democracy and it must be defended and protected.”