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Archive for October, 2020

UM Votes – Previewing the MS Ballot

Posted on: October 19th, 2020 by elpayseu

In the coming posts, UM Voting Ambassadors will be previewing what is on the Mississippi ballot, so that you understand the offices, the statewide ballot initiatives, and your choices as you prepare to cast your vote. In this post, Voting Ambassador Libby Foley provides an overview of the ballot for national and state offices in Mississippi.

Obviously, this election year is very important as it includes the Presidential election. However, there are still Senate and House of Representative elections going on that are worth your attention. Below is a comprehensive list of what will be on the Mississippi Ballot this November, along with a link to a sample 2020 ballot for Mississippi. Be sure to do your research on each candidate before you vote, and choose the candidate that best serves your beliefs!

Out of state students can check their ballots and information here: State by State Voting Guide

How do I research candidates?

Here are several nonpartisan resources for information on these candidates:

Other resources include:

  • Candidate websites
  • Political party websites
  • Issue-based policy groups
  • Local newspapers or media outlets

Presidential Election:

  • Joseph Biden, with Kamala Harris as VP – Democrat
  • Donald Trump, with Michael Pence as VP – Republican
  • Don Blankenship, with William Mohr as VP – American Constitution
  • Brian Carroll, with Amar Patel as VP – American Solidarity
  • Phil Collins, with Bill Parker as VP – Independent
  • Howie Hawkins, with Angela Nicola Walker as VP – Green
  • Jo Jorgensen, with Jeremy “Spike” Cohen as VP – Libertarian
  • Brock Pierce, with Karla Ballard as VP – Independent
  • Kanye West, with Michelle Tidball as VP – Independent

U.S. Senate:

  • Mike Espy – Democrat
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith – Republican
  • Jimmy L. Edwards – Libertarian

U.S. House of Representatives:

(What district am I in? Check online here!)

1st Congressional District

  • Antonia Eliason – Democrat
  • Trent Kelly – Republican

2nd Congressional District

  • Brian Flowers – Republican
  • Bennie G. Thompson – Democrat

3rd Congressional District

  • Dorothy Dot Benford – Democrat
  • Michael Guest – Republican

4th Congressional District

  • Steven M. Palazzo – Republican


District 1, Position 1

  • Kenny Griffis – Nonpartisan
  • Latrice Westbrooks – Nonpartisan

District 1, Position 2

  • Leslie D. King – Nonpartisan

District 2, Position 2

  • Mike Randolph – Nonpartisan

District 3, Position 3

  • Josiah Dennis Coleman – Nonpartisan
  • Percy L. Lynchard – Nonpartisan


District 08 Place 1

  • Brian K. Burns – Nonpartisan
  • Caleb E. May – Nonpartisan

Statewide Ballot Measures

Ballot Measure 1:

  • Initiative Measure No. 65, Should Mississippi allow qualified patients with debilitating medical conditions, as certified by Mississippi licensed physicians, to use medical marijuana?
  • Alternative Measure No. 65 A, Shall Mississippi establish a program to allow the medical use of marijuana products by qualified persons with debilitating medical conditions?

Secretary of State Initiative Brochure

Mississippi Today Election Guide

Ballot Measure 2: 

House Concurrent Resolution No. 47- Amendment to propose that to be elected Governor, a candidate has to receive a majority of the votes. If no candidate has the majority, there will be a runoff election, under this amendment. This amendment would also remove the requirement of receiving majority votes for House of Representative candidates.

Mississippi Today Election Guide

Ballot Measure 3:

House Bill 1796 – Flag Referendum

This ballot measure is a vote to approve or deny the new Mississippi State Flag, as pictured below.

Mississippi Today Election Guide

Election Day is November 3rd!

Be sure to make a voting plan, or contact the voting ambassadors at engaged@olemiss.edu if you need help creating one!

For your reference:

Beyond the Vote – Preparing for Post-Election

Posted on: October 13th, 2020 by elpayseu

It’s no secret that the tone of politics has changed in recent years. With things like hyper partisanship and an increasing lack of dialogue between sides, it can be difficult to imagine a world in which your chosen candidate does not win the election.

It’s important, however, to remember that at the end of the day we are all Americans that want the best for this country, and we will continue to live together as a community after Nov. 3rd.

This Election Day is unlike any other because of Covid-19 and increased mail-in voting. It is also likely that we may not know the outcome of the election for several days or even weeks, especially if results are close or challenged in court by either candidate.

Additionally, this election is viewed by many on either side of the political aisle as a high stakes election and tensions seem to be increasing as the Election Day draws near.

So, what can we do? 

The Voter Engagement Roundtable and the Office of Community Engagement have two major ways we are working to cultivate mutual respect and find ways forward together this election season.

Everybody Loves Lincoln

Everybody Loves Lincoln Logo

Everybody Loves Lincoln

Let’s be honest guys, who doesn’t love Lincoln? He was an incredibly wise American president who fought to end slavery and keep America unified. Finally, something Republicans and Democrats can agree on!

That fight for unity and dialogue amidst politically intense times is exactly what we should be looking for this election season.

Join us Tuesday, October 20th, from 6:30-8:00pm for a special evening featuring Comedian Tehran Von Ghasri and a panel discussion around defunding the police or defending the blue. With a little humor and some open minds, let’s show that we can delve into complex issues together, be serious and thoughtful about politics, AND be respectful and civil towards those with whom we disagree.

Tehran Von Ghasri is an up and coming comedian from the Hollywood comedy scene. His background is as diverse as this country: Black and Persian, Muslim and Jewish. He has been featured on HBO, Comedy Central, and Fox. He has been compared to Dave Chappelle meets Maz Jobrani, so the night is sure to be a fun one! You can find Tehran in his hit Comedy Store podcast called Imperfect Gentleman or on social media @IAmTehran.

For more information and registration, visit the event page – Everybody Loves Lincoln

Hold America Together Campaign

Hold America Together logo

Hold America Together

As a way to demonstrate our individual commitment to non-violence and to peaceful post-election season, we invite you to join the Hold America Together campaign hosted by Braver Angels. This trans-partisan group brings together Reds and Blues across the political spectrum committed to preserving our democratic structures and putting the greater good ahead of any political party or platform.

At this moment of danger and in this era of divisiveness, we the American People come together to speak for the Union. Some will vote for President Trump and others for Vice President Biden. But in this season of intense and legitimate partisanship, we commit ourselves also to a higher partisanship, for the maintenance of our Union; for the importance of our shared civil life; and for those feelings of goodwill that Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.

Here is the information you need to participate in the  Hold America Together initiative. Click here to sign the letter. Click here to find out how to organize a group.

With Malice Toward None Initiative and Pledge

“With malice toward none, with charity for all…” – Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865

We have the privilege of living in a democracy, where our ideas and ideals can be shared and exchanged with the constant goal of producing a better republic. Issues, however, arise when our ideas or desires for this country conflict. When this happens its important to remember that moments like this are inherent to democracy, but that at the end of the day we should aim for charity towards our fellow Americans. This can look like a couple of things:

  • Perspective taking
  • Pursuing civil dialogue
  • Exposing yourself to a variety of news outlets

Having to confront a loss on election day is no easy feat. It will be normal to experience feelings of hostility and anger towards the other side or even seek isolation from people who voted differently from you.

The With Malice Toward None initiative through Braver Angels seeks to work against this division by encouraging organizations to hold gatherings for dialogues between both sides in an effort to promote perspective taking and unity. They have a variety of resources and talking points for these gatherings which can be found here (Link: Braver Angels).

There is also a pledge that we would encourage you to read over and see if it is something you would like to sign. The pledge reads as follows:

“Regardless of how the election turns out, I will not hold hate, disdain, or ridicule for those who voted differently from me. Whether I am pleased or upset about the outcome, I will seek to understand the concerns and aspirations of those who voted differently and will look for opportunities to work with people with whom I don’t agree.”

A link to the pledge can be found here (Link: With Malice Toward None Pledge).

With Malice Toward None programming will be held in January, leading up to the inauguration.

Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos

For your reference:

UM Votes: Virtual Drop In Hours 10/12 – 10/16

Posted on: October 12th, 2020 by elpayseu

Prepare to Vote in Election 2020 – National, State, and Local Elections! Our UM Voting Ambassador team is here to help you navigate the voting process, whether you are registered here in LaFayette County or in your hometown/state. We can also walk you through what you need to know for absentee voting and to prepare for in-person voting on Election Day!

No pre-registration is required. Simply click on the timeslot below to access the Zoom link for drop-in hours with our VA team.

Focus: Absentee Ballots & Notary Services (MS or Out of State)
MS Absentee Ballots now available, thru 11/3/20.

Monday, 10/12

10:00 – 11:00    VA: Maggie

1:00 – 2:00         VA: Eric

Tuesday, 10/13

8:00 – 9:00       VA: Morgan

Wednesday, 10/14

11:00 – 12:00    VA: Nick

1:00 – 2:00         VA: Clinton

 Thursday, 10/15

10:00 – 11:00   VA: Katelyn

1:00 – 2:00         VA: Libby

Friday, 10/16

4:00 – 5:00         VA: Madeleine


Need other assistance, have technical issues, or want to schedule a one-on-one appointment? Email us at engaged@olemiss.edu.

For your reference:


OCE Agency Profile – Wild Again in MS Rescue and Rehabilitation

Posted on: October 8th, 2020 by elpayseu

There’s a good chance that if you travel the highways and byways of Mississippi, that you’ll come across a literal deer in headlights or an armadillo narrowly avoiding the path of a semi-truck. Mississippi wildlife isn’t hard to find among the woods and fields, and Todd and Estelle Rogers are working to make sure that they are protected and cared for.

In 2016, Todd and Estelle founded Wild Again in Mississippi Rescue & Rehabilitation to assist in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured or orphaned native mammals in Mississippi. They also strive to educate the public on the importance in the conservation of the indigenous species in their natural environment. 

It all started when the couple found a hummingbird nesting in their garage. As it worked and they watched, the hummingbird fell and broke its wing, so they immediately took it to the nearest rehabilitation center where it was promptly mended and released. 

This came at a time when Todd and Estelle were looking for a new purpose after the passing of their daughter earlier that year, so they saw this as a sign to dedicate themselves to the preservation of Mississippi’s wildlife creatures. “This organization has given me purpose again,” says Estelle. “They say there is always something good that comes out of something bad.”

Wild Again is operated by a group of volunteers that have an unconditional love of wildlife and that work every day to help injured mammals, young and old. While many of them have years of experience in animal rehabilitation, Estelle says that anyone with a love for animals can get involved. “If you want to come into the hospital, you can do that, but you can also fundraise, build cages,” she says.  

They are hoping to gain more volunteers this year so that they can increase their impact across the area especially with the seasonal arrival of newborn wildlife this fall. According to their website, “the hours can be long, the work can get dirty, and heartbreak can come in an instance,” but Estelle says that the reward of helping these animals is priceless. “Once you get one in your hand, the love just pours out,” says Estelle. “They need you.” 

New volunteers receive one-on-one training upon signing up, so if you would like to get involved, you can visit their website at wildagaininmississippi.org or contact our Area Coordinator Catherine Long at cglong@go.olemiss.edu

UM Votes: Absentee Ballots – What You Need to Know

Posted on: October 6th, 2020 by elpayseu

Once you have registered to vote, there is a good chance that either because you are not going to be in your home county on election day or because of concerns about coronavirus, you are interested in obtaining an absentee ballot. (See Elections and COVID 19 Guide Here)

In Mississippi, you have two choices for casting your ballot:

  • Vote in-person on Election Day, 11/3
  • Vote by absentee ballot, 9/21 – 11/3

In Mississippi, there are a limited number of valid reasons to get an absentee ballot. Being outside your home county because you are here at Ole Miss on election day is the main one that would apply to college students, but other reasons include being required to work during polling hours on election day or having a disability that keeps you from going to the polls. The state of Mississippi is currently among the stricter states for accepting concerns of the coronavirus as a reason to vote absentee, so that reason on its own is not enough.

View the full MS Secretary of State guide on absentee ballots here.

View absentee ballot information for other states here.

To cast absentee ballot in-person:

Yes, you can cast an absentee ballot in-person throughout the election season! This is an easy way to know your ballot has been cast and avoids any potential delays by mail.

Circuit Clerk’s Offices are open during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday).

Circuit Clerk’s Offices will also open on Saturdays during Election season:

  • 8 a.m.- noon on 10/24
  • 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on 10/31

To request a mail-in absentee ballot:

Contact your county circuit clerk’s office and request an absentee ballot. You will tell them your reason for voting absentee (you are a college student and away from your home county), and they will get your ballot sent to your mailing address. Make sure they have the correct mailing address!

Directory of MS Circuit Clerk’s Offices

Notarizing your mail-in absentee ballot:

Yes, you have to have your ballot notarized! The notary will certify that you are the one who has filled out your ballot before you get it sent off.

Yes, we can help you with that! – For FREE!

Email engaged@olemiss.edu to schedule an appointment to have your ballot notarized. We have several notaries that have made their services free of charge for absentee ballots this election season. Need other options? Pak Mail on campus has notaries on staff for a fee on $5 and the Oxford public library has two notaries on staff. Reach out to any of these groups to set up a time to get your ballot notarized.

Even though absentee ballots are typically returned by mail, you can also bring your ballot in person to the circuit clerk’s office to ensure a timely delivery. It is very important to make sure that your ballot is postmarked by 5:00 pm, Election Day, Tuesday, 11/3, and received within 10 days, 11/13. If you are worried about potential mail delays, you can drop the ballot off in person at your circuit clerk’s office.

Remember that if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to the voting ambassadors at engaged@olemiss.edu or call your circuit clerk’s office (in the county in which you are registered)!

Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos

For your reference:

OCE Agency Profile – Doors of Hope

Posted on: October 6th, 2020 by elpayseu

Poverty detrimentally impacts individuals through homelessness, food insecurity, and limited access to health care, and according to the U.S. Census, it affects approximately 20% of Mississippians. Fortunately, organizations like Doors of Hope Transition Ministries are working to stop the issue of homelessness and poverty in Lafayette County.

Doors of Hope was created in 2011 with one goal in mind: to help guide and support homeless families and families at risk of becoming homeless throughout the Oxford-Lafayette area. “This organization does everything we can to lift and build individuals up,” says executive director Mary Margaret Andrews. They help lead families toward self-reliance and stability by teaching them life skills through training, mentoring, and supportive housing. 

Currently, Doors of Hope has established two major programs to support families: a shelter where homeless families can live and learn for up to six months rent-free as well as financial counseling services for at-risk families, teaching individuals how to budget, pay their rent and utilities, and learn skills to get out and stay out of debt. 

While COVID-19 has greatly impacted Lafayette County, Doors of Hope has been a key player in helping individuals in our community. Since March, Doors of Hope has helped 75 families pay their rent and utilities. “Because of the high housing prices in Oxford, there is a homeless problem here, and, unfortunately, people do not see it,” says Gabrielle Rush, vista worker and volunteer for Doors of Hope, “More individuals than you would think have a difficult time sustaining a place to live.”

Students can also make a huge difference in curbing the homeless population in Lafayette County. Since they are a nonprofit organization, Doors of Hope depends entirely on donations from businesses, churches, and community members to meet their clients’ needs.  Throughout the year, Doors of Hope hosts several donation drives, and they need students to host fundraisers and create social media campaigns to benefit the homeless population.

They also host donation drives and fundraisers like their Wreaths of Hope auction and raffle during the holiday season  to help ensure all families have something to celebrate and eat over the holidays.

 As Gabrielle says, “It doesn’t take a huge event to change someone’s life, a helping hand or a simple donation can go a long way.”

To learn more please reach out to our student coordinator Madison Alliston at mallisto@go.olemiss.edu or go to the Doors of Hope website at doors of hope oxford.org.

Madison Alliston Headshot

Madison Alliston

UM Votes – “Fall” Into Voting Registration

Posted on: October 2nd, 2020 by elpayseu

By Madeleine Dotson, UM Voting Ambassador

It’s that time of year again: the leaves are changing, the weather is getting cooler, and suddenly, Pumpkin Spice is everywhere. It’s time for you to pull out your sweaters, jeans, costumes, and obtain that voter registration card. That’s right, Fall 2020 also means the beginning of election season, and with a deadline of Monday, October 5th, you want to be sure to get to registering ASAP. Here are a few quick steps to help you get registered:

If you plan to register for the state of Mississippi, the deadline is coming fast (THIS MONDAY), and it is a paper process. You will need to print the form linked below  and fill it out legibly and accurately.

There is one big thing I want to note: the Mississippi eligibility requirement. In addition to being 18, a US Citizen, and not convicted of any one of the disenfranchising crimes, you must live in a specific county or city for 30 days. Meaning, those of us living in Oxford can be considered eligible to vote for Lafayette County. College students can legally choose to register either in your home county or here in Lafayette County, Oxford.

Tips to remember:

  • When listing the address, you want to make sure BOTH the mailing and physical address are located in the county you are requesting to vote in. Your mailing address should be currently in use, so folks on-campus can use a P.O. Box or PakMail.
  • On-campus students needing a physical address should list the address of your residence hall, apartment, or Greek house, and you can find these addresses on the Virtual Ole Miss Map. For example, if you live in Crosby Hall, list 115 Northgate Dr.
  • You need to provide your driver’s license number, but it must be from a Mississippi driver’s license. If you do not have a Mississippi driver’s license, you will need the last four digits of your social security number.

Download the MS Voter Registration Form (PDF).

Access the State by State Directory for other states.

Once your form is filled out, you’ll need to mail it to your Circuit Clerk’s Office or drop it off physically.

Your envelope needs to be postmarked October 5th at the latest, or you need to make sure you visit your Circuit Clerk’s office before 5:00 PM on Monday, October 5th.

For Lafayette County, the Circuit Clerk’s Office is located on the Square at 1 Courthouse Square (the big, white building). If you would like to register in person and do not have a ride to the Square, you can take the Blue West line.

For those registering in other MS counties, look up your Circuit Clerk Office here: https://courts.ms.gov/trialcourts/circuitcourt/circuitclerks.pdf

3. Confirming Your Voter Registration

After registering, you will receive a voter registration card in the mail. It’s important to check all that information. You can also check your registration status online in about two weeks at (https://www.msegov.com/sos/voter_registration/AmIRegistered ).


Need other assistance, have technical issues, or want to schedule a one-on-one appointment? Email us at engaged@olemiss.edu.

For your reference: