WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, March 22, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed Senate Bill 2358 into law, which makes it a crime to collect and submit mail-in ballots on behalf of others. The law prohibits anyone other than an election official, postal officer, family member, household member, caregiver or commercial carrier from submitting even a single ballot on behalf of another individual. S.B. 2358 will take effect on July 1, 2023.
S.B. 2358 effectively bans community ballot collection in Mississippi, which Reeves pejoratively called “ballot harvesting.” Ballot collection is an important tool for elderly voters, disabled voters, rural voters and voters who lack reliable mail service or access to transportation. Unfortunately, in recent years, Republican lawmakers have targeted ballot collection. Arizona enacted a ban in 2016 that led to the arrest of a prominent community leader last fall. Montana enacted restrictions in 2021 that were struck down in court last September for impermissibly restricting voting. S.B. 2358 will likely make it more difficult for Mississippians to cast a mail-in ballot and expose individuals to criminal penalties simply for trying to help people vote.