Laws governing the initiative process in Mississippi

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Mississippi Initiative and Referendum Law

The Basics: First 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 of the sponsor’s receiving 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 General 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.

Deadlines: Initiative language can be submitted at any time, and the circulation time 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.


Residency: Required.

Signatures: 20% from each of the five congressional districts. Thus, at least 19,668 signatures must be gathered from each of the five congressional districts. If less than 19,688 certified signatures are submitted from ANY of the five congressional districts, the entire petition will be invalid.

Single-subject restriction: No

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.

Initiative and Referendum Law

   * Mississippi Constitution and Statutory Provisions provided the I&R Institute


References:

   * I & R Institute - Mississippi