The Hattiesburg American reports:
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann called Wednesday “a good day for voter ID,” after a Pennsylvania judge approved the state’s new voter ID law that could be implemented by November.
But, in terms of seeing Mississippi’s ID law in effect this election day, don’t count on it.
“I’ve said our prospects are dim, and they’re going to be extinguished here shortly when we get past Sept. 1 because the ballots start,” Hosemann said, referring to military ballots that can be sent out no later than 45 days before the election.
Hosemann visited the Hattiesburg American on Wednesday to discuss Mississippi’s voter ID law currently being held up by the United States Justice Department, which must approve it as a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The voter ID law passed with more than 60 percent of the popular vote in 2011 as a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution.
But it’s one of several such laws from across the country that have generated controversy from critics who claim they suppress legitimate voter turnout and are based on scant cases of voter fraud.
Neither objection is warranted, according to Hosemann, a Republican who supports the law.
He cited the high rate of turnout in the Aug. 7 primary election in Kansas, which also passed a voter ID law in 2011 and saw a higher turnout for its primary election than it did for its presidential election in 2008.
“Right now, one-tenth of 1 percent (of eligible Kansas voters) did not have an ID,” he said.
In order to minimize voter exclusion, Mississippi would tap into a national birth certificate database, while providing transportation to those seeking voter IDs and pay for the IDs of lower-income people – at a cost of $1.5 million to the taxpayers.
Mississippi would also allow college student IDs as an acceptable identification.
As for cases of voter fraud, Hosemann cited the recent News21 study revealing 74 such cases registered in Mississippi since 2000.
While that study concluded that evidence of widespread voter fraud is paltry, Hosemann believes there are more that have not been prosecuted.
He added, “The real proof as to whether there is a perceived or actual voter fraud is in the minds of the electorate.
“Over 60 percent think there is, and they made the decision after a decade of debate on the matter, and after a lot of personal experience by them at the polls,” he said.