Appeals Court Overrules Party Registration, Voter ID

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a ruling that would have forced Mississippians to register by political party and to show photo identification at the polls to be able to vote.

The Mississippi Democratic Party sued in 2006 to keep non-Democrats from voting in its primaries.

A federal judge in Mississippi last year ordered the state to re-register all voters to allow people to declare themselves as a party member or independent. The judge also ordered photo IDs to be required at the polls.

The Democratic Party appealed as did the NAACP, the state and the Mississippi Republican Party.

The New Orleans court said Wednesday that if the Democratic Party had taken steps to keep non-Democrats out of its primaries and been stopped, then the party would have had grounds to sue.

The Mississippi Legislature is meeting in special session, and Gov. Haley Barbour is asking lawmakers to enact voter ID. The proposal passed the Senate last week on a vote largely split along racial lines, but a House committee plans to ignore the issue and kill it.

Barbour spokesman Pete Smith said Wednesday the governor remains committed to voter ID as the best means of ensuring fair and fraud-free elections.


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