Getting the voter ID referendum on the 2011 general election ballot will bring supporters of the move to the polls at the same time Mississippians choose a governor, other statewide officers and all 174 legislators.
But it’s a fact that back in 2009, House Republicans accused Senate Republicans of gutting a voter ID compromise bill they supported.
The other argument that the GOP senators and Bryant used for killing the 2009 voter ID bill was the “danger” of early voting. Of course, in the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama carried 28 states –13 of which had early voting. Republican nominee John McCain carried 22 states -17 of which had early voting. Dangerous to the GOP? Hardly.
In the Southeast, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee all permit no-excuse, in-person early voting at election offices or other satellite locations. The GOP carried every one of those states except Florida.
Republicans wanted voter ID, but not too soon. They wanted it on the ballot when they needed it most.
Voter ID should pass, but then so should early voting – if the issue is involving the most eligible voters in the electoral process. Of course, that’s not the issue and hasn’t been since the GOP killed voter ID in 2009 to play for time to get it on the 2011 ballot.
It’s about using a “wedge” issue to drive voter turnout and win elections – which is what political parties do.