Gov. Phil Bryant has proclaimed February as Voter Registration Month. He and fellow Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann are urging Mississippi citizens to register to vote for upcoming party primaries--and not to forget their voter IDs.
Mississippi's voter-ID law is scheduled to be in place for the June 3 statewide primary. This comes after years of legal wrangling and claims from civil-liberties groups who say the law might deter African Americans and other minorities from bothering to try to vote.
But The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for voter ID last summer when the court's majority ruled unconstitutional parts of the Voting Rights Act that required some states to obtain federal approval for voting changes. The ruling basically said that in the past 40+ years states like Mississippi had suffered enough punishment for rigging its electoral system to keep blacks away from the polls for the past 100+ years.
The fact that the Voter Registration proclamation-cum-voter-ID reminder is taking place at the start of Black History Month is probably 100 percent, purely coincidental.
Or it's 100 percent, purely intentional.
Here's the release from Bryant's office, though:
Jackson, Miss.— With the new photo identification requirement beginning June 3rd, Governor Phil Bryant and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann want Mississippians to remember the key to our democracy lies with voting. Therefore, the Governor has proclaimed February Voter Registration Month in Mississippi.
“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our nation, and countless service men and women have given their lives in defense of this freedom,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “I encourage Mississippians to register to vote and participate in the electoral process at the local, state and federal levels.”
“We believe there are approximately 360,000 Mississippians over the age of 18 who are not registered to vote,” says Secretary Hosemann. “Voting is our most important right. We thank Governor Bryant for his commitment to the electoral process and hope this designation will encourage Mississippians to register to vote.”
To register to vote in Mississippi, you must be:
• A resident of the State and the county/city for thirty (30) days prior to the election; • At least 18-years-old by the date of the general election; • Not convicted of a disenfranchising crime; and, • Not adjudicated mentally incompetent. • A statewide primary election will be held in Mississippi on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. The voter registration deadline for that election is Saturday, May 3, 2014, at 12 p.m. A statewide general election will be held in Mississippi on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. The voter registration deadline for that election is Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, at 12 p.m. To register to vote, please visit your local circuit clerk’s office or, you may download a voter registration form on the Secretary of State’s website at http://sos.ms.gov/links/elections/voter_information_center/tab1/Voter_Registration.pdf.
For information regarding the voter identification requirement, please contact 1-844-MSVoter or visit www.MSVoterID.com.