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Mississippi Extends Runoff Election Period to Four Weeks

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JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi will now hold runoff elections four weeks after the initial Election Day instead of three.

State Senator Jeremy England (R) authored SB 2144, which passed during the 2024 session and changed the runoff period. The legislation, which went to conference, passed the House by a vote of 118-1 and the Senate by 50-1. Governor Tate Reeves (R) signed the bill, with an effective date of July 1.

Senator England told Magnolia Tribune on Monday that the primary reason for moving runoff elections from three weeks to four was to give Circuit Clerks and election officials more time to prepare properly for a runoff.

“In Mississippi, results must be certified within 10 days after Election Day,” England explained. “That leaves only 11 days before the runoff. Clerks’ offices also have to open for two Saturdays before an election. This has always been a difficult time crunch. It was made worse with the move to paper ballots.”

He said many of the people who handle elections in the state requested moving runoff elections back a week. This includes the Secretary of State’s office and associations for the County Circuit Clerks and Election Commissioners.

Concerns About Extended Runoff Periods

“The only push-back I received was from candidates,” England said. “Their concern was that the seven additional days will add more to campaign expenses – and it will also extend the time by which voters must be engaged.”

Voter turnout typically shrinks between an initial Election Day and a runoff election.

“The concern is that voters will lose even more interest if another week is added to the process,” England noted.

The Coast Senator added that some pointed out another concern related to General Election runoffs in November – Thanksgiving. He said some wanted to move the time frame to five weeks.

“There were too many issues, however, moving the date out by a full five weeks,” England said. “Consensus was that four weeks would work best.”

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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