Voter ID Poised For 2011 Vote | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Voter ID Poised For 2011 Vote

photo

Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said House members were unwilling to make an immigrant-enforcement bill more legal.

Mississippians will vote next fall on a constitutional amendment to require photo identification at the polls. In a press conference this afternoon, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann accepted petitions for a ballot initiative on voter ID for the Nov. 2011 statewide general election. Voter ID proponents collected approximately 131,000 signatures in support of the initiative, Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, told the Jackson Free Press today. State law requires at least 89,285 signatures to place an initiative on the ballot.

"It's pretty amazing," Fillingane said. "I was never in serious doubt that we would make it, but I had no idea we'd make it as huge as we did."

Fillingane, who supports the group Mississippians for Voter Identification, voted during last year's legislative session to kill a bill that would have required photo identification from all voters born after 1945. Joined by three other Republicans and a Democrat, Fillingane surprised many voter ID supporters by voting against the measure, which originated in the House.

The move raised speculation that Fillingane and others hoped to delay a vote on voter ID until the statewide elections, when it could prove a politically useful wedge issue. Mississippi Democratic Party Executive Director Sam Hall has called the move "a political stunt."

Fillingane said today that he opposed the House bill in the Senate Elections Committee not for political reasons, but because it had several weak points. The exemption on voters born before 1945 was counter-productive, he argued, because elderly voters were the most vulnerable to voter fraud.

"Most of the voter fraud, I find, that goes on is elderly people being taken advantage of," Fillingane said. "Someone will try to vote for John Doe because they know he's at home sick or can't get out of the nursing home."

Fillingane also objected to the House proposal's provision for early voting, which he said would introduce a greater possibility for election fraud unless county voter rolls were first purged of deceased voters and out-of-date entries.

Asked to provide an example of voter fraud that could be prevented with a photo identification requirement, Fillingane described incidents from the 2007 Democratic primary election for circuit clerk in Jefferson Davis County.

"You had charges of voting by dead people, voting by people that were out of the county," Fillingane said.

The losing candidate, Clint Langley, challenged the election results in court. After reviewing the allegations, Circuit Court Judge Forrest Johnson threw out the original results and called a new election, which Langley won. Johnson found 26 voting irregularities in the original results, including one instance of a vote recorded in the name of a dead man and another in which a person hospitalized in another county cast a vote.

Opponents to voter ID argue that election fraud is hardly pervasive and that any evidence is minor and anecdotal. Conversely, they maintain, a photo ID requirement could discourage voter participation, especially among older African American voters with a keen memory of segregation-era voter intimidation tactics like poll taxes.

"This is all about disenfranchising voters, not cleaning up voting," Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson told the Jackson Free Press in Aug. 2009.

The ballot initiative will ask Mississippi voters whether the state Constitution should be amended to require that all voters submit a government-issued photo ID before voting. The Constitutional amendment would also provide that voters could receive a free photo ID from the Department of Public Safety. The amendment would exempt "religious objectors" and "certain residents of state-licensed care facilities."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously identified Sam Hall as Chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party. Hall is the Mississippi Democratic Party's Executive Director.

Previous Comments

ID
156594
Comment

If this passes, does the Federal Dept of Justice approve it as well?

Author
RobbieR
Date
2010-03-08T14:28:47-06:00
ID
156598
Comment

Tell these "Tea Party Members, Birthers, Liberterians and Conservatives" that their time would be better spent if they would get with the NFL and the New Orleans Saints to settle their dispute over "WHO DAT." The voters of Mississippi don't need a driver's lic. or a state issued lic. to know "WHO DAT IS". This is the above listed group's way of ID'ing to ensure the best possible chance of locking certain voters out, i.e., the elderly.

Author
justjess
Date
2010-03-08T15:25:45-06:00
ID
156599
Comment

Not only does Fillingame want to make voting harder by requiring ID, but he's against early voting too. Anything to make voting harder here. Isn't he the guy who introduced the "green zone" bill to make penalties for crime harsher in downtown, Fondren and northeast Jackson than in other parts of the city?

Author
golden eagle
Date
2010-03-08T15:31:20-06:00
ID
156600
Comment

[quote]Most of these people call themselves, liberterians, tea party members, "conservatives" which is supposed to equal = Less Government!? But yet, they want people to start showing I.D. when they vote!? less government? riiiiiiggght![/quote] Maybe they just want to ensure that government by the people is actually, you know, by the people Living people. Using their own names.

Author
Mark Geoffriau
Date
2010-03-08T15:46:15-06:00
ID
156613
Comment

unbelivable. The use of "the elderly" as defense against having to show ID is simple. What would be easier than complaining is just getting an ID. My brother doesn't drive or own a car. He rides the bus, bikes and walks to get where he needs to go. When he walks to a bank he still needs a photo ID to cash a check. Is this some nefarious scheme to deny him his money?- It wouldn't matter if it was, cause he got himself to the H.P.office, and got a state I.D. Now that's not hard. If someone knows someone soooo old, that they can not make it to a bus stop, and stomach the ride, then it's their responsibility to take them where they need to go, so you can be a part of stopping this horrible Tea Party plot against the elderly.

Author
Mark Ellis
Date
2010-03-09T07:19:37-06:00
ID
156615
Comment

But voter fraud is extremely rare. It's just another Republican attempt to suppress voting in this country. Larger turnouts usually translate into Democratic victories.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2010-03-09T08:37:04-06:00
ID
156620
Comment

Mark Ellis your remarks stick out like a sore thumb. Save these remarks and make everyone think that you have compassion for the less fortunate. A state ID cost $25.00. For many elderly people who are already cutting their medicine in half, unable to fill some of their RXs, this is a real issue. Because finance, access and conditions of comfort aren't everyone's bag of goodies, don't get the message twisted.

Author
justjess
Date
2010-03-09T10:33:43-06:00
ID
156621
Comment

[quote]A state ID cost $25.00. For many elderly people who are already cutting their medicine in half, unable to fill some of their RXs, this is a real issue.[/quote] Not quite. http://www.dps.state.ms.us/dps/dps.nsf/divpages/hp2ds-info-idcard?OpenDocument It's $14 to receive a new state ID card, and it's valid for 4 years. The fee chart is unclear about renewal cost, but I believe it's $11. Still, even at $14, we're talking about an annual cost of $3.50.

Author
Mark Geoffriau
Date
2010-03-09T10:42:02-06:00
ID
156623
Comment

[quote]If you want to ensure that it is by the people, why set up a roadblock such as picture ID? [/quote] The answer to that question is in the very section you quoted. The reason is to ensure that people who want to cast one vote, under their own name, can do so, and that people who choose not to vote are not unknowingly used to provide support for one side or the other. [quote]If legislation like this passes, what will be done about absentee voting? Since we are so paranoid about voter fraud?[/quote] That's a wonderful question. I think absentee ballot fraud is clearly another issue that needs to be addressed. The 1994 Greene County, AL case and the 2003 East Chicago case are examples of how easily absentee ballots can be abused. I think there are steps to be taken that will help limit the abuse -- but I don't see that it's necessary to combine the efforts into one bill. Voter ID is a step in the right direction. There's not much use in arguing over absentee ballot abuse if we can't even ensure that the regular vote counts are accurate.

Author
Mark Geoffriau
Date
2010-03-09T11:38:22-06:00
ID
156624
Comment

Jess- you must have missed this part of the article. "The Constitutional amendment would also provide that voters could receive a FREE photo ID from the Department of Public Safety."

Author
BubbaT
Date
2010-03-09T11:53:25-06:00
ID
156626
Comment

BubbaT, Yes, I missed that part. So the State would be willing to use tax payer funds to pay workers to make free IDs. This is real smart, cost effective and guaranteed to correct a problem that doesn't exist.

Author
justjess
Date
2010-03-09T12:59:25-06:00
ID
156627
Comment

Jess- Yes it is smart,cost effective and does guarantee that the problem never will exist,even if voter fraud rarely happens now. Voting is the most important thing we do as U.S. citizens, why not have an extra safeguard that it's done legally? We safeguard lots of other things by requiring a photo id that are a lot less important.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2010-03-09T13:32:11-06:00
ID
156628
Comment

BubbaT, before I write this off as another attempt by Republicans, Birthers and Tea Party or a coctail, RepublicBirthTea (RBT) let me ask you this. If voter fraud is a problem in the State of MS, WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE??? It seems like only yasterday that I was listening to my mother talk about not being able to vote because she had to interrept a section of the Constitution. It took the loss of jobs and lives of so many for her to have this right. My father was the first registered voter in the town I was born. By the way, my mother's "constitutional question" was: "How many bubbles are there in a bar of soap." She was laughed at and told to get back to selling turnip greens. ...and don't forget that there was a poll tax that had to be paid before one could vote. I am not the one to participate with you in your attempt to ensure that voting is protected because the abuse in the past was not done by voters: it was done election officials who had missing ballot boxes or entire talleys from certain booths not counted or miscounted. Other issues include the purging of names, illegally from voting rolls. If you want something to do that might help voting become an equitable and fair system, address some of these issues: This is where the real problems are.

Author
justjess
Date
2010-03-09T14:09:41-06:00
ID
156629
Comment

Voting is the most important thing we do as U.S. citizens, why not have an extra safeguard that it's done legally? We safeguard lots of other things by requiring a photo id that are a lot less important. Pretty much all of which are privileges, not absolutely fundamental rights. I'm not saying photo IDs are by-and-large the currency of the modern era, but I would point out that there are some solid, constitutionalist liberatarians would might espouse a different point of view about requiring government-issued ID for a constitutional privilege. For instance, I assume we can now register all Mississippi gun owners? I know that would inconvenience some, but even one additional murder solved by universal gun owner registration would be worth it, no? And just think of the cheaters who would be deterred from gun ownership.

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2010-03-09T14:16:42-06:00
ID
156630
Comment

[quote]If voter fraud is a problem in the State of MS, WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE???[/quote] When I googled "Voter Fraud Mississippi", the first result was this blog: http://rightofmississippi.wordpress.com/category/voter-fraud/ Also ran across this news story: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1876623/posts Turns out 2 people were convicted in that case.

Author
Mark Geoffriau
Date
2010-03-09T14:18:33-06:00
ID
156631
Comment

The irony of voter ID has long been that its strongest proponents are the same people who claim to not want further regulation without demonstration of need. And they have shown no evidence that voter ID laws will actually counter voter fraud problems that have occurred, which is usually with absentee ballots. There is no evidence that voter ID will change much of anything except perhaps keep some people who have the right to vote away from the polls (but, thankfully, that is changing, leaving this wedge issue with limited life left in it). We have reported this repeatedly, but the people who believe that voter ID is actually going to limit the number of people who will vote for people like President Obama rage on (or those who just want the votes of people like that). I kind of feel sorry for the people who push for something so meaningless in reality. It's all political, and that's very sad.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-03-09T14:18:49-06:00
ID
156632
Comment

Just cross-posted with Todd (jinx!), but I will add that there is more actual evidence that gun registration would make a bigger difference than voter ID. It is a vanity wedge issue and a waste of all of our time. But it gets people like Hosemann votes from the ACORN-is-taking-over-our-world crowd. He is such an incredible disappointment. I thought he would be much better, and less political, than he's been. But I apparently hadn't done my homework on him. He is so wasting taxpayer resources by focusing on voter ID.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-03-09T14:21:23-06:00
ID
156634
Comment

Jess- I never said voter fraud was a problem, did I? Did you even read what I posted "even if voter fraud rarely happens now." Everything you mentioned were wrongs of the past, why address something that no longer exist?

Author
BubbaT
Date
2010-03-09T14:42:22-06:00
ID
156635
Comment

Somebody should videotape themselves voting as someone else on more than one occasion during the next election. Politico, here I come. I mean, could voter ID really stop a 24-year-old white male like myself from voting as a 74-year-old black male at one station, a 29-year-old white male at another station, and finally as myself at a third station? I really don't know. If I'm in school during the next election, I could always get my old yardman, Rodney, to vote for me if I can't make it back to my hometown. See, Rodney is a felon and can't vote. Yet, if I offer to pay him $5 to run up to the station and cast a vote for my main man Bobby G. Huggs, I'm in business and my friend G. has a better chance of winning. Think about it people, ID would keep my friends from having a better chance of winning. I DON'T LIKE THAT. When I take tests on campus, it bugs me to death that I must show ID. Of all things, ID? I mean, what are the odds of a student being desperate enough to hire a brainy-whiz like myself to take their Accounting 201 mid-term exam(I normally charge $60) Besides, requiring ID to take a test may be a hindrance for less fortunate students who cannot afford to pay $25 for a new student ID. (Yes, that is the actual cost)

Author
jbreland
Date
2010-03-09T14:49:17-06:00
ID
156636
Comment

Donna- if you do a little searching on voter id, there is a study on Indiania,which has the strictest voter id requirements, that voter turn out has actually increase since they started voter id there. Guns are already registered to the owner when they buy them now. The forms and background check. How do think they trace guns now?

Author
BubbaT
Date
2010-03-09T14:51:41-06:00
ID
156637
Comment

What is wrong with having a verifiable process to prove who you are at the polls? This is not the 60's. The legislation is not trying to do handwriting tests or anything underhanded. How many registered voters in this state do not have SOME form of ID? Even if you do not drive, you still have to own a form of identification to cash checks, receive welfare, receive medicare, receive unemployment, etc. (yes, I picked out programs that support the poor and elderly, but those are the people everyone keeps saying cannot afford ID's. Not everyone who cannot drive is poor.) There should be no way for someone to impersonate a dead person at the polls simply by knowing their name and a little info. I could go through my neighbor's trash and find out enough information to falsely represent him in November as it stands. There is no excuse not to have Voter ID in our state.

Author
myndtheef
Date
2010-03-09T14:56:08-06:00
ID
156638
Comment

That may be true about Indiana, Bubba, whether or not it's causal. I actually think the importance from a voting standpoint of fighting voter ID is diminishing rapidly. I'm against voter ID for the more conservative and libertarian argument that we only need government regulation when a real need is shown. But you're changing the subject on me and ignoring my larger point: that we should only regulate the constitutional right of voting in some way if direct evidence is shown that it is necessary -- you know, the conservative argument.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2010-03-09T14:59:33-06:00
ID
156639
Comment

When I take tests on campus, it bugs me to death that I must show ID. Of all things, ID? I mean, what are the odds of a student being desperate enough to hire a brainy-whiz like myself to take their Accounting 201 mid-term exam(I normally charge $60) Besides, requiring ID to take a test may be a hindrance for less fortunate students who cannot afford to pay $25 for a new student ID. (Yes, that is the actual cost) (a.) that a privilege, not a right and (b.) on Ole Miss campus you're telling me it isn't a PROVEN fact that people cheat on accounting tests? LOL. ;-)

Author
Todd Stauffer
Date
2010-03-09T15:01:57-06:00
ID
156641
Comment

If you know someone who can't afford an ID, and you won't help them, shame on you. If you know someone who can't afford one, and you can't afford to help, you shouldn't be chatting on line. You should be working to help yourself, and those around you. I loan people money all the time- it feels good. Try it, then we can spoil those dang Tea Partiers plans.

Author
Mark Ellis
Date
2010-03-09T18:02:09-06:00
ID
156653
Comment

Mark, I read through your links, and they don't make a strong case for widespread voter fraud. Your second link refers to a story about selling votes. Unless there's more to the story, voter ID would not have an impact on that sort of corruption. Your first link contains many stories. One is about problems with absentee ballots, which has nothing to do with voter ID. Another does describe two cases from Jefferson Davis County where voter ID might have prevented the fraud. But I have to point out that the fraud was discovered without voter ID because the vote was close. They apparently found no other cases where voter ID would have made a difference. It boils down to benefits versus costs. If voter ID prevents two cases of fraud but turns away 200 voters without ID, it has a negative impact on elections. It is not enough to show that voter fraud has happened very rarely, which is all proponents can show. Without stronger evidence, the cure is clearly much worse than the disease.

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2010-03-10T13:28:18-06:00
ID
156655
Comment

If you know someone who can't afford one, and you can't afford to help, you shouldn't be chatting on line There are computers at a library.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2010-03-10T13:31:53-06:00
ID
156656
Comment

That's fine an well, but that's a different argument. I was responding to someone who asked for evidence of any voter fraud in Mississippi. Perhaps it's just the nature of a discussion among multiple parties instead of between two parties, but the shifting positions make it difficult sometimes to respond (especially when one's comments only appear much later than submitted). Initially, the argument was that it was unfair to force poor people to pay $25 (or rather, $14) for state ID cards. Then when someone pointed out that the bill makes provisions for free state ID cards, the argument became that it would cost taxpayers too much. Likewise, the initial challenge was made that there were zero cases of voter fraud in Mississippi. I provided a couple links, and the new argument is that the results I found on the first page of my google search don't count anyway and aren't numerous enough to warrant a solution. Progressives are quite comfortable with the argument that even constitutional rights come with attendant responsibilities -- with the 2nd Amendment, in particular, they like to push the point that it's not an absolute right, but a right that can be protected and structured by legislation (and I don't disagree with this argument, by the way, only its extremem application by most anti-gun progressives). Why doesn't this apply to voting rights as well? This isn't an end-all, be-all solution to election fraud -- it addresses one part of the situation with a relatively easy to enact solution. Or perhaps we should just soldier on with 123% of the adult population registered to vote, like Madison County has. I'm sure no one has thought about how to take advantage of that.

Author
Mark Geoffriau
Date
2010-03-10T13:40:14-06:00
ID
156658
Comment

[quote]There are computers at a library.[/quote] Yeah, but you have to get a library card if you want to check out books. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Author
Mark Geoffriau
Date
2010-03-10T13:56:38-06:00
ID
156661
Comment

Point Made - Thanks Brian! I have not seen a clear case yet made for mass reports of voter fraud. As an election poll worker and/or manager, we take our job seriously and follow the letter of law where elections are concerned. If you have dishonest election workers, a requirement for voter ID will not address that problem at all. That is a problem of integrity and greed, and has nothing to do with honest hard working people who wish to cast their vote for their candidate.

Author
lanier77
Date
2010-03-10T14:11:16-06:00
ID
156666
Comment

I don't understand the problem here. Showing ID before you cast a vote is just common sense. I have a right to work, but I have to show two forms of ID to be employed anywhere. I have a right to live, but I have to show ID before I can rent, get a loan for, or buy a home. Even if I paid cold cash for a home, I still have to show ID to get the lights turned on.
-Just because it's a right does not mean we are exempt from following the rules. If I didn't have to follow the rules, I'd do front hand-springs all the way into the polling place, skip ahead in line, and cast my vote with a pink poka-dot sharpie marker.
-Is it so hard to believe that more people go vote on behalf of their elderly relatives or neighbor who works off shore, than people who, for whatever reason, don't have an ID? Can you really deny that those things happen all the time in the system we have now? I know for a fact that my neighbor doesn't vote. What prevents me from voting twice by using his info?

Author
The Eskimo
Date
2010-03-10T15:32:52-06:00

Like independent media outlets around the world, the Jackson Free Press works hard to produce important content on a limited budget. We'd love your help! Become a JFP VIP member today and/or donate to our journalism fund. Thanks for considering a JFP VIP membership or one-time support.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus