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Most Mississippians must vote on Election Day, bring ID

Your guide to the 2024 elections

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Most Mississippians must vote on Election Day, bring ID


Voter makeup: Each month, Secretary of State Michael Watson posts active voter counts for Mississippi’s 82 counties alongside census-generated voting age population estimates. Counties are flagged when the numbers don’t agree, highlighting the challenge of keeping voting rolls clean. His office’s latest figures show 1,923,755 registered voters. The state does not register voters by party.

Voting: Mississippi is one of 23 states that require photo identification at the polls. Voters can use government-issued ID or obtain a voter ID card for free at any circuit clerk’s office in the state. The deadline for registering to vote in November elections is Oct. 7. Last year, a federal judge temporarily blocked a new law that placed limits on who could help voters cast their ballots by mail. Litigation is ongoing. Voters may cast mail-in ballots if they meet certain conditions such as military service or health constraints. Mississippi is one of three states that will not have any in-person early voting this year.

Voters can track absentee ballots, check polling places, and view sample ballots online through My Election Day, a website the state launched last year. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.


Mississippi ranks among the nation’s most conservative states, especially in presidential elections. A Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t won the Magnolia State since 1976, when Jimmy Carter was on the ballot.

Mississippi held its presidential primaries on March 12. President Joe Biden received 87,922 votes, while former President Donald Trump garnered 225,075, accounting for 93 percent of the party ballots. In the 2016 election, Trump carried Mississippi with nearly 60 percent of the vote, and in 2020 he repeated the victory with nearly 58 percent. Mississippi has six electoral votes.


Four decades have passed since a Democrat from Mississippi occupied a Senate seat, but that hasn’t kept Ty Pinkins, an Army retiree with two Georgetown University law degrees, from trying. Pinkins, who was unopposed in his primary, describes himself as a “proud son of the Mississippi Delta.” As a community organizer, Pinkins testified before Congress about unfair employment practices for Mississippi workers. His platform includes raising the federal minimum wage, passing pro-abortion legislation, and expanding Medicaid.

Pinkins’ opponent is incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, a longtime politician who’s been in the U.S. Senate since 2007. Wicker, 72, is the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Known for his pro-life platform, Wicker has also received endorsements from National Right to Life and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. While he handily won the primary with more than 60 percent of the vote, some of the most conservative counties in Mississippi rejected his conservative credentials. In 2021, Wicker voted to certify the 2020 election results, and he also voted in favor of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law.


After redistricting in 2022, Mississippi continues to have four House seats. Currently, three are held by Republicans and one by a Democrat. The 2nd Congressional District is the only district where black residents are in the majority. There, longshot Republican candidate Ron Eller will face Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, 76, in the November general election. Thompson, who’s held onto his seat in Congress since his appointment in 1993, is the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. He also led the select committee investigating the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

First-term Rep. Mike Ezell, 64, defeated two challengers to win the Republican nomination in the 4th District. He’ll go up against Craig Raybon, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Raybon does not have any information online about his campaign, but according to a survey with Ballotpedia, he said he is a former truck driver and nonprofit director. Ezell is a former sheriff who voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas earlier this year. He also voted to end military assistance to Ukraine. He says the United States cannot continue to write blank checks to other countries.


The Supreme Court of Mississippi has nine justices. Unlike most states, Mississippi elects justices to represent specific districts. They are seated for eight-year terms in nonpartisan elections, and two justices are facing challengers in their reelection bids. In District 1, longtime Justice Jim Kitchens, 80, has four opponents, including Ceola James. James is a former judge who filed suit against U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson for allegedly interfering in her 2016 bid for a position on the Mississippi Court of Appeals.

In District 2, incumbent Dawn Beam, the only woman on the court, will face Gulfport-based attorney David Sullivan. Beam has served on the court since 2016. She co-chairs the Supreme Court’s Children’s Justice Commission, where she is involved with making changes in the state’s beleaguered child welfare system. Sullivan, a fourth-generation lawyer, is a municipal judge.


The largest school district in Mississippi is the DeSoto County School District, which provides education for some 34,000 students. Two seats on Desoto County’s school board are up for special election on Nov. 5. In recent years such down-ballot elections have increased in significance as school board meetings became ground zero in the national debate about parental rights, preferred pronouns, and mask mandates. The work of these boards is more public than ever, too, with meetings livestreamed and also available for later viewing on YouTube.

Dig deeper:

Visit the WORLD Election Center 2024 to follow our state-by-state coverage between now and November.

Kim Henderson

Kim is a World Journalism Institute graduate and senior writer for WORLD. During her career as a homeschool mom, she worked as a freelance writer. Kim resides in Mississippi with her family.


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