JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson received backlash for comments he made during a live interview about registering college students to vote. He was discussing his opposition to the “For the People Act,” which passed the U.S. House in March.
During the interview with WLOX, Watson said, “Think about all these woke college university students now who would automatically be registered to vote, whether they wanted to or not. Again, if they didn’t know to opt out, they would be automatically registered to vote. And then they receive this mail-in ballot that they didn’t even know was coming because they didn’t know they registered to vote. You have an uninformed citizen who may not be prepared and ready to vote, automatically it’s forced on them. Hey, go and make a choice and our country’s going to pay for those choices.”
Jarrius Adams, who is the president of the organization Young Democrats of Mississippi, responded to Watson’s comments.
“Young people, born and raised here, are used to, unfortunately, leadership slapping us in the face and not prioritizing us, but we know who we are. We know what we stand for, and we know what we want, and we’ll keep fighting for it,” stated Adams.
In a 2019 interview with WJTV 12 News’ Byron Brown, then-candidate Watson said he wanted to make voting easier for college students if elected as Secretary of State.
“At the end of the day, it’s talking to our circuit clerks, our elected commissioners, registrars to say, ‘Hey, what can we do to make this easier and better for our students?'” he stated in the 2019 interview.
WJTV 12 News reached out to Watson’s office. They said they will not further comment on the issue.
WLOX reported Watson admitted he could have found a better way to works his thoughts about the automatic registration idea.