Hosemann's Office: No Voter ID Needed

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office has finally placed alerts on the department's official website telling voters that photo ID isn't required for the Nov. 6 election.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office has finally placed alerts on the department's official website telling voters that photo ID isn't required for the Nov. 6 election. Photo by Courtesy Ward Schaefer

Up until recently, a Mississippi citizen looking for voting information on the secretary of state's website might have been confused.

As recently as last week, the site offered voters oodles and oodles of assistance in procuring state-issued photo identification, but didn't let people know that the IDs are not yet required to vote (See R.L. Nave, "Hosemann's Voter ID Subterfuge, Oct. 10).

However, SOS website users are now advised upon visiting the site: "Mississippi's Voter ID law will NOT be in effect for the November 6, 2012, General Election." Previously, a message on the website said, "Need a photo ID? Click here for more information," which suggested that voter ID was required.

In early October, the U.S. Department of Justice, which has to approve all changes to Mississippi election laws, asked Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood for more proof that the law requiring voters to prove their identities at the polls was designed with "neither a discriminatory purpose nor will have a discriminatory effect."

The DOJ's request ensured that the state's voter ID law, which Gov. Phil Bryant signed this spring, would not be implemented before Election Day.

Even before the request, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann stated at a legislative budget hearing at the Capitol that the DOJ was unlikely to approve voter ID this year.

Voter ID's temporary defeat in Mississippi followed a series of huge victories for civil-liberties groups that compare voter-ID requirements to voter-suppression tactics of the 1960s--the reason that Mississippi and other states must seek the Justice Department blessing to alter voting laws anywhere in the state.

A federal judge halted a similar photo ID law Oct. 10 in South Carolina for the 2012 election, saying there was insufficient time to implement the law. In Pennsylvania, a potential swing state, a state court enjoined a voter ID law from going into effect until after the Nov. 6 election.

On Oct. 16, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to prevent early voting in the three days preceding Election Day in Ohio. Previously, Ohio state officials planned to cut off early voting, ostensibly to let election workers prepare for Nov. 6, when turnout is expected to be robust in the swing state. However, President Barack Obama's campaign successfully sued to keep early voting open.

Hosemann and other Republicans have vowed a legal fight to see voter ID implemented in Mississippi. In preparation, Hosemann's office secured a $500,000 legislative appropriation for legal fees related to voter ID and set up a website, www.msvoterid.ms.gov, and a toll-phone hotline to help voters get an ID.

Calls placed to the toll-free number last week led to a recording from Hosemann asking voters to leave a message "if you need assistance obtaining a free voter identification card, once the requirement is implemented." Also, last week, a Jackson Free Press reporter filled out the online form to get assistance with obtaining voter ID.

As of Friday morning, no one from Hosemann's office had responded to the query.

Read more of the Jackson Free Press' coverage of voter ID.

Comments

jaylosset 2 years ago

The "Need a Photo ID?" language is still there, and the disclaimer that the law will not be in effect is in teeny tiny type. Despicable.

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donnaladd 1 year, 12 months ago

So, Hosemann put this press release out yesterday. (And cheers to JFP reporter R.L. Nave for "raising a stink," as Rachel Maddow called it last night when she plugged his stories, about this problem with Hosemann's (lack of) communication on his pet issue):

No Voter ID Needed for Nov. 6 General Election JACKSON, MS - Mississippi voters will not need to present a Voter ID or other approved photo identification to cast a ballot in the November 6 General Election.
Although more than 62 percent of Mississippi voters in November 2011 approved an amendment to the state Constitution requiring voters to present photo identification before casting a ballot, the election law has not yet received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice. Therefore, a Voter ID will not be required to vote on November 6, 2012.

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donnaladd 1 year, 12 months ago

Watch Rachel Maddow's clip on R.L.'s (with intern Dylan Watson) work to get Hosemann to be straightforward about the state of voter ID; it starts about 1:30:

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donnaladd 1 year, 12 months ago

Here's what Democrats had to say about Hosemann finally deciding to make it more clear that no voter ID is needed this November in Mississippi:

No ID needed to vote in November 6 Elections

Mississippi House Democratic Caucus Press October 25, 2012 Jackson, MS- Mississippi voters will not have to provide any form of identification when they cast their votes in the upcoming November 6 election. House Democratic Caucus Leader Bobby Moak (D-Bogue Chitto) issued the following statement: “There are few things more important than a person’s right to vote. That is why it is crucial for every Mississippian to know that when they show up at their polling place on November 6, they will not be asked to show identification. For the life of me, I do not know why some politicians have chosen to be unclear about the state of current voting laws in Mississippi. I sincerely hope that Mississippi’s newspapers and television stations will clear up any confusion before Election Day and encourage all Mississippians to get out and vote.”

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kdg1stlove 1 year, 12 months ago

Voting is a privielge and a right, in my opinion. However, we as voters have to take it upon ourselves to be 'informed' voters. That is why some groups/politicians/parties leave things hanging out there...they know that a large number of us will not think enough about ourselves to find the right answers. I know that there are some that don't have the means (dare I say the intelligence) but I truly believe that we will find out the correct information for something that truly concerns and/or benefit us...therefore we need to change our priorities...just a thought...

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