GOP Pushing for Vote on Voter ID

There's a major push being made by Republicans to get voter ID passed in Mississippi.

As part of a three-day, statewide tour the leader of Mississippi's Republican Party made a stop in Meridian to announce the initiative. It's an effort to collect 90,000 signatures to get the voter ID issue placed on the ballot in November 2010.

State party chairman Brad White said this initiative will be handled much like other campaigns.

"I doubt there'll be a lot of calls but I'm interested in seeing us prepare so we can try to mail out some petitions," said White. "In fact, we've done that to key people to help them circulate those and get those back down to us."

"We're trying to get these in by Sept. 15, but October's the deadline," said Lauderdale County Republican Party chairman Scott Carmichael. "If we can't get it in by October, we have until February 2010 to get it done."

Petitions to support the initiative are available at Carmichael's office in downtown Meridian, Missouth Properties, located on the second floor of the Regions Bank building.

Republican leaders say voter ID needs to be passed to cut down on voter fraud.

Over the years this issue has repeatedly died in the legislature. GOP leaders say they now hope to take the issue directly to the voters to let them decide.

The Mississippi Democratic Party has opposed voter ID being required at the polls. The organization issued a news release in response to the GOP statewide tour.

"Just like their counterparts on the national level, the state Republican Party is losing touch with what matters most to the people in Mississippi," said state Democratic chairman Jamie Franks. "People here don't care about politicians' political posturing; people care about their own jobs, putting food on the table and making sure they can afford to go to the doctor when they get sick."

"The courts still have not fully clarified where these signatures must come from," said Democratic Party executive director Sam Hall. "The law says from the state's five Congressional districts, but we only have four Congressional districts today. Until this is clarified by the courts, it looks like a petition drive is getting the cart before the horse.


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