It is midterm election day tomorrow across the country, and this week’s Mississippi Crime of the Week concerns two types of crimes that can be committed during an election cycle. In our form of government, every individual vote is both valued and valuable, and it is extremely important that the voting process not be compromised. Like most states, Mississippi has an entire chapter of its code dedicated to election crimes. This week we will discuss two of the more popular election crimes - intimidating an elector to procure their vote, and intimidating an elector to prevent their vote.
Intimidating, boycotting, etc., elector to procure vote.
Section 97-13-37 of the Mississippi Code Annotated makes it a crime to get someone’s vote, or attempt to get someone’s vote, by means of violence, threats, refusing to do business with a voter, enforcing the payment of a debt, bringing a suit or criminal prosecution, or by any other activity that would be considered intimidation. Any person convicted of this crime faces imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or a fine not exceeding $1000.00, or both.
Intimidating elector to prevent voting.
Along the same lines, section 97-13-39 of the Mississippi Code Annotated makes it a crime to use the same means (intimidation, etc.) to prevent a person from voting. The punishment for this crime, however, is more stiff. A conviction of this crime carries a penalty of up to two years in the penitentiary, or by a fine not exceeding $500.00, or both.
As you might expect, these crimes are political by their nature. They are rarely pursued by prosecutors across the state. But if you find yourself caught up in an election controversy, do not hesitate to contact me to discuss. 601-991-1099.