Hosemann: "Stop Fraud with Voter ID"

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

Mississippi's secretary of state pushes for a voter ID law, in part, because 29 counties have more citizens registered to vote than actually live there.

Delbert Hosemann says he may now have enough support at the state Capitol to get the law passed.

In November's presidential election, the 1.3 million voters was a record turnout for the state. But that still leaves several thousand Mississippians who didn't go to the polls. Representative Brandon Jones says that concerns him.

"Having elections that are perceived to be safe and run in a proper way is an important concern, and having elections that encourage people to get out and get involved in the process is very important," Jones said.

Jones sat on an elections panel Hosemann organized to find out what Mississippians want from the state's election process. Hosemann, who proposed voter ID earlier this year, says the reaction was clear.

"The great majority of Mississippi citizens cannot fathom a realistic reason that voter ID wouldn't be prevalent in today's society," he said.

Still, a proposal that sounds good in December, may not be looked at the same way once it gets to lawmakers in February or March.

"It doesn't need to say voter ID if criminals that are convicted now get to vote or if we have all these early voting opportunities," said Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant. "If they'll send us a stand alone voter ID bill we'll take it up."

"Voter ID has been discussed and discussed and discussed many years in the state of Mississippi," said Sen. Hillman Frazier. "Many folks have fears of the prospect and intent of voter ID in Mississippi."

It remains to be seen if lawmakers will be able to calm those fears. Jones' proposal would require ID at the polls in the form of a driver's license, paycheck stub, or utility bill. It would exempt voters who voted in elections prior to the national Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Any voter without a form of identification would be issued a state ID card, free of charge.

This year a voter ID bill passed the state Senate, but failed in the House.


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