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Some Worried That Voters And Poll Workers Confused Of Status of Voter ID Law

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 01 Nov 2012 05:00pm | comments
voting machine.

Mississippi voters will not be required to show ID at the polls for Tuesday's general election, however some are worried that not all state residents and poll workers know that. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports state officials are working to make sure Mississippians are not turned away from voting because they lack ID.

Although a majority of voters approved voter ID last year, and the legislature established the legal framework for the ID requirement, Mississippi voters will not be required to show government approved ID on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says because of a history of racial discrimination in Mississippi the federal government must approve the law before it can take effect.

"And they haven't approved our voting rights act. We sent them information. We have been working with them since January. And we got the latest requirement for a whole slew of information just a month ago. So we are not going to make it for this election," Hosemann said.

However, some are worried that confusion over the status of the law will cause some voters to avoid voting or be turned away for not having ID.

Mississippi Democratic party chairman Rickey Cole says that confusion could suppress the vote.

"That could harm the integrity of the election and we want a problem free election in Mississippi. So Mississippi Democrats will have observers in many polling places around the state to make sure that everyone is conversant with the law and understanding that there is no voter ID requirement on November the sixth of this year," Cole said.

At a political event in Jackson this week, Governor Phil Bryant suggested voters voluntarily show ID...a suggestion that Cole called on Bryant to retract.

Attorney General Jim Hood says his investigators are prepared to respond claims of poll workers requiring ID.

"I think the word has gotten out there. We have sent out memos. You in the media, I think, have done a good job getting the information out that you wil not be required to have a voter ID. And if anybody tries to make you present an ID, I hope you will call our office and let us know because they will be interfering with your right to vote," Hood said.

More than one-million Mississippians cast a ballot on Tuesday....although low numbers of Absentee ballots mean turnout could be lower than four years ago.

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