Study: 98% of Mississippi Voters Have Valid Photo IDBy Daniel Cherry | Published 12 Dec 2012 07:15pm |
98 percent of Mississippi voters have valid forms of Photo ID. That's according to a recent study commissioned by the state. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, the Secretary of State believes this evidence will help Mississippi's Voter ID law gain approval from the Justice Department.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann commissioned what he calls the largest survey ever conducted of Mississippi voters. Out of 6,000 people surveyed after casting ballots in this past November's General Election, 98.3 percent had at least one of the eight acceptable forms of photo ID. Hosemann says his office will do everything possible to reach the other 1.7 percent.
"You should assume that I will pay particular attention to citizens who earned less than $30,000, and ensuring that they are able to get this ID."
The Secretary is proposing new administrative rules that would ease the process of obtaining a valid form of Photo ID. Hosemann says he's even worked out a deal with the Department of Transportation to provide free transportation to those who need a ride to their county Circuit Clerk's office.
"Free transportation, free birth certificates, outreach programs for each and every one of these groups. We're going to have virtually no disparity between any particular group. Either by income level, race, ethnicity, or any other level."
All these, Hosemann believes, will help Mississippi's Voter ID law pass Justice Department muster. Even so, Voter ID opponents say the law will still discourage poor residents and minorities from voting. Bear Atwood, is the Legal Director with the Mississippi ACLU.
"The chilling effect it will have on people of color, African American voters going to the polls being required to have an ID. None of these things can solve that. At the end of the day, that continues to be a problem."
Mississippi's Voter ID law has to be precleared by the U.S. Justice Department before implementation. Voters overwhelmingly approved Voter ID in 2011 in a statewide referendum.
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