Secretary of State addresses Derogatory Comments allegedly made by Department of Justice Employee
Remarks are Irresponsible
Jackson, MS—Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann addressed the comments allegedly made by a Department of Justice (DoJ) employee, calling her remarks irresponsible.
Allegedly, United States Justice Department employee Stephanie Gyamfi posted the following statements on the social networking site, Facebook:
“They never do…disgusting and shameful. Hey, that should replace the state motto! “Mississippi: Disgusting and Shameful.”…forget the magnolia state motto.”
“I find these comments unprofessional, unwarranted, irresponsible, and misguided, particularly with Mississippi’s pending voter identification submission before the Department of Justice,” says Secretary Hosemann. “I respectfully request the Department of Justice take appropriate disciplinary action against Ms. Gyamfi and to publicly clarify its own position that such a statement does not reflect the opinions of its department.”
“I do not believe,” adds Hosemann, “an employee who makes such statements should review any voter identification application by the State of Mississippi, or, for that matter, any state subject to Section 5.”
Federal law requires any voting change in Mississippi to receive preclearance from the United States Department of Justice. Gyamfi’s job description for the Department of Justice includes reviewing whether these voting changes meet the requirements of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
In a conversation with Secretary Hosemann, Gyamfi said the statement was taken, “out of context.”
“A Justice Department employee stating our state is ‘disgusting and shameful’ is another indication Mississippi’s voter ID submission will not receive fair consideration,” says Secretary Hosemann. “The real problem is not the current culture of Mississippi, but the current culture of the Justice Department.”
“Our Agency has taken great strides to educate voters on the implementation of voter ID. During the initiative process, we held nine public hearings on the issue in geographically dispersed areas of the State, when State law required we only hold five,” adds Hosemann. “Those hearings were transcribed and are currently on our website, along with written comments submitted by the public. Overwhelmingly, voters expressed concern over the integrity of the election process, voter impersonation, and inaccurate and inflated voter rolls.”
Voter roll maintenance is conducted at the county level.
To read the full text of Mississippi’s voter identification legislation (House Bill 921), click the following link: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2012/pdf/history/HB/HB0921.xml.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann Press Release