How Voter ID and Voter Turnout Could Affect Elections | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

How Voter ID and Voter Turnout Could Affect Elections

Mississippi's Voter ID law took effect last year, largely relying on research commissioned by the secretary of state's office finding that 98 percent of Mississippi voters reported having at least one of eight possible forms of identification needed to vote. The demographics of the 98 percent who had IDs is: 60 percent white, 38 percent black and 2 percent "other."

The 2012 research was conducted as an exit poll for voters, and the demographics match the Census population statistics of Mississippi. The 2012 survey estimated that 1.7 percent of Mississippians who voted in November of that year did not have a valid form of photo ID. That 1.7 percent was 68 percent black and 41 percent from households with less than $15,000 in annual income.

The 2012 research surveyed almost 6,000 Mississippians, and if those percentages are translated to the voter population today, 31,500 voters (1.7 percent of registered voters) will not have a proper ID to present at the polls next week. Voters without a valid form of ID were allowed to apply for a Voter ID card, and so far (as of Oct. 9) 4,364 Mississippians have received Voter ID cards.

About 82 percent of the state's population that can vote are registered to do so—there are 1,856,533 registered and active voters in the state. The secretary of state's office does not keep demographic information on voters.

Harrison and Hinds Counties have the highest voter populations in the state. Hinds County has 146,522 active voters; Harrison has 109,288. 
 Voter population is not relevant, however, unless the voter population turns out to vote. In the August primary election, only 28 percent of registered voters turned out to vote in Hinds County. Don't forget your ID and head to the polls on Nov. 3. For poll locations in Hinds County, visit http://www.co.hinds.ms.us/pgs/apps/voter.asp.

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