Voting RIghts Fight Takes on New Direction

…Chapin thinks that one reason there are fewer new restrictions this year is that states that were inclined to enact things like voter ID have already done so. He says now states and the courts are focused on working out the kinks.

“The big story in this cycle with ID is the lengths to which some states are going to make sure that people without ID get ID,” says Chapin.

One good example, he says, is Mississippi, which has new photo ID requirements going into effect this June.

Delbert Hosemann, Mississippi’s secretary of state, says officials are trying to do what they can to make sure that every voter can get an ID.

“We’ll pick you up for free and take you to the circuit clerk’s office. We offer free reviews and verifications of your birth certificate. And we’ll issue a free ID,” says Hosemann.

Hosemann says he studied other states’ voter ID laws very carefully to avoid some of their mistakes. Many other laws have been challenged for placing too great a burden on elderly, poor and minority voters who don’t have an ID and might have difficulty getting one because they lack documents such as a birth certificate.

“I feel like we’ve addressed all the issues that could come up and that would be an impediment to someone getting an ID,” says Hosemann.

People like Perez, though, say that remains to be seen. Despite her optimism this year, she says her advocacy group and others will still monitor closely what happens at the polls.

All Things Considered NPR
3/27/14