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Are you ready to vote in the November election? Deadline for voter registration approaching, absentee ballots available at courthouse

As mid-term elections draw closer, so too does the deadline for Mississippians to register to vote.

First-time voters can register two ways ahead of the Nov. 6 election, either in person with the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s office or by mailing in a Mississippi Voter Registration Application.

“Coming by the office is the best way,” Lafayette County Circuit Clerk Baretta Mosley said, “That way if there is anything wrong with your information, we can get it corrected. If we get the form in the mail and something is wrong, we have to send it back and we might not get it back in time. The best way at this late date is to come by the office. It takes all of five minutes.”

Those who wish to register to vote have until Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. to register in person.

Individuals who register via mail have an extra day. Forms should be postmarked by Oct. 9 to be eligible for the November election. The form can be downloaded by visiting the county’s website at http://lafayettems.com.

The circuit clerk’s office has also begun accepting absentee ballots for the November election, which can be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Nov. 2.

The office will also be open Oct. 6, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to noon to allow additional hours for absentee voting.

“All you have to do to vote absentee is to bring your photo ID and you can vote your ballot right here in the office,” Mosley said.

For voters who have recently moved or perhaps haven’t participated in an election in several years, being marked inactive is a possibility.

“Most of the people who are inactive (voters) haven’t been purged from the roll,” Mosley said, “That is because we’ve gotten returned mail. We don’t arbitrarily go in and make people inactive because they haven’t voted. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s because we’ve sent out a jury summons and the summons came back. That’s what is called the ‘trigger,’ then a confirmation card is sent out. If that comes back then you are made inactive. If you miss two federal elections (after this process) then you are purged.”

Even if a voter arrives at the polls to find they’ve been purged or marked inactive, those individuals are still eligible to vote, Mosley said.

“Your name is gonna be at the poll on election day,” Mosley said. “But you cannot vote on the machines. You will have to update your address and then you can vote via a paper ballot. That ballot will count.”

Mosley also recommends that voters check to ensure that they know the location of their local voting precinct ahead of election day, especially for individuals who haven’t voted in some time.

The easiest way, Mosley said, is to check the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.ms.gov/PollingPlace/Pages/default.aspx and type in an address to see the location of that assigned polling precinct.

Voters can also contact the circuit clerk’s office, which is the quickest method to ensure that an individual is going to the proper location, Mosley said.

Mississippians can also visit the state’s Y’all Vote website at http://www.sos.ms.gov/Vote/Pages/default.aspx to check if they are registered to vote, to update name and address information ahead of the election or to be removed from the voter roll if they no longer live in Mississippi.

An important thing to remember, Mosley said, is to bring a photo ID to the polls on Nov. 6.

“You will be allowed to vote without your identification, but we can’t count your ballot until you present your identification at the (circuit clerk’s) office,” Mosley said.

For individuals who do not have a photo ID, the Y’all Vote website contains resources and instructions for how to obtain one.