Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a vehement voter ID proponent, opposes the Mississippi House of Representatives' attempt to codify voter ID Thursday saying the ID requirements are "unmanageable." He also objects to language in the bill that would bring early voting to the state.
"While I respect what HB 430 is trying to do and welcome this voter ID proposal, I disagree with a voter ID proposal with unnecessary and unmanageable identification requirements that water down the goal of meaningful voter reform," Hosemann wrote.
Hosemann, a Republican who ran on a platform of making photo ID a requirement to vote, has been lobbying the Republican-led Senate to include identification legislation in this session's round of new laws. The secretary of state touts voter ID as necessary in order to prevent voter fraud, although he and other proponents have presented scant evidence to support the contention.
House Democrats and some Democrats in the Senate argue, however, that an ID requirement will provide one more hurdle for the electorate to cross before participating in elections. They argue that minorities, youth and senior citizenswho generally vote Democraticwould most often be the ones excluded by the new requirement.
When asked for evidence that the additional regulation is needed, Republican supporters typically refer to cases of fraud involving absentee votingwhich does not require ID now, nor would under a voter ID requirement.
"They've never been able to offer a solid case where an ID requirement would have been useful because preventing fraud is not their goal," NAACP President Derrick Johnson told the Jackson Free Press last month. "This is all about disenfranchising voters, not cleaning up voting."
The House bill, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Brandon Jones, David Norquist and Tommy Reynolds, among others, makes ID mandatory, although accepted forms of identification may include non-photo versions, such as utility bills, bank statements and paychecks.
Hosemann stated that he wanted a state-issued driver's license or photo card to be the primary form of identification.
"We believe that our election officials are busy enough trying to run elections on tight budgets, without having to check if someone's paycheck is correct. Further, we don't think Mississippians would want to show their paycheck," Hosemann wrote. ӅWe need a solid photo ID requirement, issued by a responsible party.
Hosemann told the Senate Elections Committee last year that the state makes between $300,000 and $400,000 on state-issued I.D., leading some critics such as Johnson to argue that the state is trying to make money off a voting regulation, which they cannot provide evidence is needed.
In addition, the Democratic version of voter ID contains language allowing early voting and creates multiple early voting locations, which proponents argue would shorten voting lines on Election Day and facilitate county tallying.
Hosemann hotly opposes both early voting and multiple sites, saying the initiative should not advance until the state has a comprehensive, viable plan to purge the voter rolls. Otherwise, he said, that state would be "building a house on sand."
"Until we can trim down our bloated voter rolls, there will always be an opportunity for mischief in our election system," he wrote. He added that multiple voting sites aggravated "significant issues" the state already had with securing the circuit clerk's offices, "without allowing each county to manipulate voting precincts.
Based on this story, it appears that Hoseman has decided as a matter of politics to oppose early voting which, as it is done in other states, usually takes place at the courthouse under the auspices of the voting registrar or his deputy, and thus has many more safeguards than a typical polling place during a high turnout election day.Hoseman's position that there can be no early voting until a "comprehensive viable plan" to purge voters occurs is a red herring.the election commissioners of each county are statutorily required to purge the voting rolls(miss code 23-15-153). if hoseman believes that there is some county not doing its job then he should let us,and the AG and local DA, know so that action can be taken against the circuit clerk or county election commissioners,all of whom took the same oath of office that he did.if we accept hoseman's logic then we should NOT have ANY elections at all until his "purge plan" is completely implemented. . hoseman knows very well what has happened in other states with early voting-it made it easier for a lot of folks to vote obama/biden. in my estimation hoseman is the worst, and most dangerous,statewide elected official in mississippi.
Republicans will do everything in their power to make it harder for people to vote. We saw it during the presidential election with the ACORN "scandal". The fact is that voter fraud (which voter ID is being done under the auspice of) is very rare. I would say that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than actual voter fraud being committed. And I agree with you, Chimney. If Hosemann knows of fraud (potential or real) going on, he should be talking with the DA, AG, FBI, MBI and any other alphabet-soup organization out there about it.
- golden eagle
some one needs to tell Delbert Hosemann about the old saying, "if it ain't broke, dont' fix it". there isn othing wrong with the voting at the polling boths. If there is any problem it is in absentee voting which Mr Hosemann is not attempting to fix. The voter ID issues is an attempt to deprive poor black rural voter of their right to vote. Why should they have to pay the state for a state issued ID if they have bills,paychecks and bank statements showing who they are and where they live?
At some point in time southern Republicans are going to have to accept that their brand of racism has died and been buried in the rest of the country. How long are the Delbert Hosemanns going to continue to fight to maintain disenfranchisment in Mississippi?