Laws governing the initiative process in Mississippi (archive)
| Initiative law|
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Ballot title challenges
| Laws governing|
local ballot measures
Beginning the process
The first step is to file a typewritten copy of the proposed initiative with the Mississippi Secretary of State. This must be accompanied by an affidavit proving the sponsor to be a registered voter in the state of Mississippi. Then the Secretary of State will submit a copy of the initiative to the "Revisor of the Statutes," an attorney within the Attorney General's office. Within ten working days of this exchange, the revisor will make all advisory recommendations regarding the language of the initiative. The Revisor of the Statutes will also issue a Certificate of Review to the sponsor providing proof that the initiative has been reviewed. The sponsor has the authority to accept or reject any of the recommendations from the Revisor of the Statutes.
Within 15 working days of the time that the sponsor receives notice that the Secretary of State has submitted the initiative to the Revisor of the Statutes, the sponsor must submit both the initiative measure (including changes, if any) and the Certificate of Review to the Secretary of State. The initiative will then be given a serial number and forwarded to the Attorney General.
Within seven calendar days of receiving the initiative, the Attorney General will draft the ballot title (not exceeding 20 words) and the ballot summary (not exceeding 75 words). The Attorney General will then file both the title and summary with the Secretary of State, who will then notify the sponsor by certified mail of the exact language in the ballot title and summary.
Within ten days of the title and summary being filed, the Secretary of State will publish the title and summary in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation throughout Mississippi. If the sponsor or another person is dissatisfied with the ballot title or summary, they have five days from the date of publication in the newspaper to file an appeal in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, whose decision shall be final.
Once the ballot title and ballot summary have been finalized, the sponsor may begin collecting signatures.
Regulations and details
Initiative language can be submitted at any time. The maximum amount of time allowed for collection of signatures is one year.
All signatures requiring certification are to be turned in at least 90 days prior to the convening of the legislature to which it will be submitted. A petition filed after the 90th day cannot be submitted to the next legislative session.
Distribution and numbers
- See also: Distribution requirement
Mississippi has a distribution requirement: 20% from each of the five congressional districts. According to Section 273, Paragraph (3) of the Mississippi Constitution, "The signatures of the qualified electors from any congressional district shall not exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of signatures required to qualify an initiative petition for placement upon the ballot. If an initiative petition contains signatures from a single congressional district which exceed one-fifth (1/5) of the total number of required signatures, the excess number of signatures from that congressional district shall not be considered by the Secretary of State in determining whether the petition qualifies for placement on the ballot."
According to Mississippi law, the number of signatures collected must be equal to at least 12% of the total number of votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial general election.
|Year||Initiated constitutional amendment|
Mississippi does not have a single-subject rule.
- Main article: Legislative tampering
Constitutional amendments by initiative become part of the constitution and are thus only alterable by the legislature through regular constitutional procedures, any changes of which must be approved by popular vote.
Restrictions on petition circulators
In Mississippi, it is "unlawful for any person that pays or compensates another person for circulating a petition or for obtaining signatures on a petition to base the pay or compensation on the number of petitions circulated or the number of signatures obtained."
Restrictions on petition blockers
Bills that have or might be introduced in the 2011 session of the Mississippi State Legislature include:
The following proposals were made during the 2009-2010 session of the Mississippi Legislature:
This bill would establish that any elected official will be provided a hearing held by the removal council to determine if there is a just cause for the removal of the elected official after the petition signatures are gathered. The signatures on the petition would be validated by the Secretary of State. It also provides that a special election will be held to fill the position.
Provide procedure for removal of state, state-district and municipal elected officials.
Some of the notable features of Mississippi's campaign finance laws include:
- Mississippi treats groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure the same like other political committees.
- Mississippi requires urgent reporting of campaign contributions of $200 or more in 48 hours in the last ten days of the election.
- Mississippi allows corporations and labor unions to donate to campaigns in support or opposition of a referendum.
- Official Mississippi ballot initiatives website
- Mississippi Constitutional and Statutory Provisions Provided by the Initiative & Referendum Institute
- I & R Institute - Mississippi