State needs solution to voter ID quagmire

The issue has been one of the state Republican Party’s key issues over the years. It believes correctly that there is enough voter fraud in Mississippi to warrant the use of voter ID.

Amazingly, it was some Republican senators who stymied the latest effort. But their reason had nothing to do with voter ID.

Instead, Sen. Merle Flowers of Hernando didn’t like a provision in the House-passed bill that would allow Mississippians to start voting 15 days before an election.

Early voting is offered in many states, including several of our neighbors.

Flowers’ decision to use a technical maneuver to kill the bill is perplexing.

Even some of Flowers’ Republican colleagues were scratching their heads.

“I think we missed a golden opportunity to have a compromise bill between the House and the Senate, for the first time in all the years this issue has come up,” said Sen. Terry Burton of Newton, the Republican chairman of the Senate Elections Committee. “I know a lot of people are tired of hearing the debate every year.”

The Senate could have stripped the early-voting language from the bill and shipped it back to the House.

If the House disagreed, the bill would have been assigned to a conference committee to work out a compromise.

That’s what politics is all about: Finding a reasonable solution that will benefit both sides.

In the Legislature, we know that a bill or issue isn’t really dead until the session is over.

So there may still be hope for voter ID.

In fact, some Senate Republicans – including Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant – are trying to revive the bill, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Hattiesburg American Editorial
3/8/9