Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Citizens Report Receiving Sham Voter Registration Phone Calls, Mississippians Urged Not to Provide Personal Information Over the Phone

Several citizens in northeast Mississippi reported receiving suspicious phone calls today from individuals inaccurately purporting to represent TurboVote, a voter registration service provided by Democracy Works, which advocates for voter participation across the Nation.

The callers asked the citizens to register to vote over the phone, which requires providing the last four digits of a social security or full driver’s license number and date of birth. The callers also said citizens would be automatically provided an absentee ballot upon registering to vote.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has repeatedly urged Mississippians not to provide personal information to individuals over the phone, whether it be for charitable giving, voter registration, or any other purpose.

“In Mississippi, a citizen can only register to vote by submitting an application in-person at a Circuit Clerk’s Office or by mailing a signed voter registration application to the Circuit Clerk’s Office,” Secretary Hosemann said. “After registering to vote, a voter must submit a written application for an absentee ballot, which must be obtained from the voter’s Circuit Clerk’s Office.”

The Secretary of State’s Office has confirmed with Democracy Works that the calls are not affiliated with Democracy Works or TurboVote, and TurboVote does not register individuals to vote over the phone.

“Democracy Works immediately responded when we reported this incident, and we are working now with our Circuit Clerks, law enforcement, and relevant national organizations to try to find the genesis of these phone calls,” Secretary Hosemann said.

Monday, October 8, 2018, marks Mississippi’s in-person registration deadline, with Circuit Clerks’ offices open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. despite the federal holiday (Columbus day). Mailed applications must be post-marked no later than Tuesday, October 9. All Circuit Clerks’ Offices will be open for extended hours on Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“As the voter registration deadline approaches in Mississippi, we are asking citizens to continue reporting suspicious activity and never give out their personal information over the phone,” Secretary Hosemann said.

To register to vote in Mississippi, a downloadable registration application is accessible at Y’all Vote, www.yallvote.sos.ms.gov, the Secretary of State’s online voter information center. The application should be delivered or mailed to the Circuit Clerk in the county in which the voter resides.

An individual is eligible to register to vote if he or she is at least 18 years old, or will be 18 years old by November 6; is a Mississippi resident; has not been convicted in a Mississippi court of a disenfranchising crime; and has not been adjudicated as mentally incompetent. Mississippi currently has more than 1.8 million active registered voters.

Citizens who have already registered to vote in Mississippi but moved since the last election or changed their name can update their information online at Y’all Vote. About 2,000 voters in Mississippi have used the system to change their address or name since it was launched.

For more information about registering to vote for the first time in Mississippi, or changing an address or name as a previously-existing active registered Mississippi voter, visit the Secretary of State’s website or call the Elections Division at (601) 576-2550.