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MEVi 78 supporters file challenges to...

MEVi 78 supporters file challenges to MS Supreme Court decision on Initiative 65

By: Sarah Ulmer - June 1, 2021

Supporters of the Mississippi Early Voting Initiative (MEVi 78), have filed two motions against the Mississippi Supreme Court’s ruling on Initiative 65.

MEVi 78 submitted a proposed initiative on April 1, 2021 which would allow Mississippians no fewer than 10 days of early voting before any election. They were not the only potential new initiative to be on the ballot. However, due to the MS Supreme Courts ruling on Initiative 65 and the initiative process, it is unclear whether future initiatives will be accepted until a change to the Constitution is made.

In a press statement MEVi 78 claimed that this is the second time this particular Court has ruled to nullify a constitutional ballot initiative process in 99 years. The filings are requesting a rehearing by the Court. They were required to cite errors of law in their motions as well as any facts that had not been addressed by the Court.

“When I cited Legislative Inaction as my reason for filing a ballot initiative for 10 days of early voting, I never imagined that the MS Supreme Court would again nullify the Constitution it is supposed to protect. That’s unconstitutional,” said House 40 Representative Hester Jackson-McCray,

Some of the points mentioned in the motion for a rehearing listed below: 

  • Citizens who sponsored the MS Early Voting ballot Initiative #78 (MEVi78), were joined by Initiative 77 sponsor for the 5/28/21 filing for a Motion to Intervene and also a Motion for a Rehearing.
  • Our action was necessary to protect Mississippians because no rehearing was requested by the SOS.
  • Nullification of our Constitutional Rights to petition our government, which is the second nullification in 99 years by our MS Supreme Court.
  • Nullified Bi65 initiative that received 74% approval in the November 3rd, 2020 election.
  • MS Legislature failed to act from 1922-1992. MS citizens are not willing to wait 70 years for the legislature to enact another fix.
  • MS failed to pass constitutional legislative fix out of committee from 2003-2015
  • The separation of powers doctrine requires that the court show deference to the Secretary of State due to its status as a separately elected office as per this Court’s own recent precedent.
  • The Court is legislating from the bench absent any authority to do so.
  • The Court cannot issue a ruling that is retroactive to before an election, thereby invalidating votes by electors that have already been certified in an election.

“Only a party to the action can request a rehearing and we are not a party. Therefore, we filed a Motion to Intervene requesting leave to intervene for purposes of filing a Motion for a Rehearing,” said Kelly Jacobs, Co-Chair MEVi78. “Our goal is to have a rehearing. New information/arguments can then be presented to the Supreme Court. In light of the errors articulated for the first time in our motion for a rehearing, we encourage Secretary of State, Michael Watson, to support our two motions and file a motion in support. We want our Constitution to remain intact and the certified election results of initiative 65 to be enforced.”

Just last week Secretary of State Michael Watson announced that his office would not seek a rehearing from the MS Supreme Court on the matter.

RELATED: Secretary Watson will not petition for rehearing by MS Supreme Court on initiative process

“Based on previous case law and the 6-3 margin of the decision, we believe the request would be an unsuccessful effort,” Watson said in a release.

He said he believed calling for a rehearing would give a sense of “false hope” to the public. However, he did urge Governor Tate Reeves to call a special session so that the Legislature could address medical marijuana and take steps to strike down any challenges to Voter ID and Eminent Domain.

You can read the motions filed by MEVi 78 below: 

The Two Mississippi Supreme Court Motions Filed by MEVi78 by yallpolitics on Scribd

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: