After spending $34,000 in taxpayer funds to poll Mississippi voters Nov. 6, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's new exit poll has confirmed what voter ID opponents have been saying all along: Those most at risk for disenfranchisement under voter ID laws are black, poor or young.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Wednesday that he thinks it would be a good idea for people in the state to voluntarily show identification when they vote, even though it's not required by law.
Astonishing. Remarkable. Sinister. Those are words that come up again and again when confronting the wave of voter-identification laws that has swept through more than 30 Republican-dominated state legislatures in recent years.
Since last fall's successful referendum requiring Mississippi citizens to show a government-issued photo-identification card, mass confusion has ensued about when and if the law would ever go into effect.
Nowhere does the secretary of state's website make it clear that the Mississippi's voter-identification law, which the Legislature and governor approved in May, will not be in effect for the November election.
It's not just the collection plate that's getting passed around this fall at hundreds of mainly African-American and Latino churches in presidential battleground states and across the nation.
A series of court battles in several states may determine, over the next several weeks, everything from how people cast their votes, when polling locations will be open and what ballots will look like. Many cases have a partisan bent, with rulings potentially tipping the scales slightly in favor of Democrats or Republicans.
A three-judge panel in Washington unanimously ruled that the law imposes "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor" and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.
Voter IDs laws have become a political flashpoint in what's gearing up to be another close election year.
After years of unsuccessfully trying to get the Mississippi Legislature to pass a voter ID law, last November, state conservatives put the issue of voter ID to the state's voters.
There will be no voter identification requirements at the polls in Mississippi this November, according to state NAACP president Derrick Johnson.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann vehemently defended the state's ability to provide free Ids for its as-yet approved Voter ID law, issuing a scathing retort July 26 to "The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification," a report issued July 17 by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced yesterday that his office will be "proactive" and distribute free voter ID cards to anyone who does not have the proper identification. But his office does not yet have a vendor in place to make the cards or know how much they're going to cost the taxpayers.
Valencia Robinson, founder and executive director of Mississippi in Action, an advocacy group, sat at a table in the front of the room and riffled through brochures and printouts from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and the Mississippi Secretary of State's office, trying to sort out the requirements of the voter identification initiative that passed last week.
With her hand pressed to the side of her face in a sign of frustrated concentration, Valencia Robinson, founder and executive director of Mississippi in Action, sat at a table in the front of the room and riffled through brochures and printouts from the ACLU, the Department of Public Safety and the Secretary of State's office.
The debate surrounding voter ID in Mississippi has focused on political and historical arguments, rather than funding. While its proponents have lauded voter ID as essential for preserving the democratic process, opponents have claimed it is an effort to discourage African Americans and other minorities from voting—especially those old enough to remember Jim Crow-era tactics such as poll taxes.
In 2005, Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Ike Brown decided to go the extra—and illegal—mile to get votes for African American candidates, according to court records.
Nearly 40 percent of African American voters are unsure how they feel about a voter-identification initiative on the 2011 statewide ballot, a new poll shows. Speaking at Koinonia Coffee House's Friday Forum this morning, pollsters Pam Shaw and Brad Chism said that one of the more surprising findings from a series of polls they conducted in the first quarter of 2011 was the high degree of uncertainty about voter ID among younger African Americans.
CNN is reporting:
The voter-purge machine is kicking into overdrive this week. Down below, and in the comments, we will keep you apprised of stunts being pulled, so we can watch for them here on the homefront. Please add to the list as you see examples.