For the first time in the history of Mississippi elections, voters will need some form of photo identification to cast a ballot during June 3’s federal congressional primary.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann visited the Lowndes County Courthouse on Monday to monitor preparations. He said between 600-700 people who did not have a photo ID have gotten one in time for the election and Hosemann expects that number to grow.
In 2011 62 percent of voters approved an amendment to the state constitution requiring photo IDs. The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the move.
The state legislature allocated $226,000 for equipment to implement the new law, including the cost of advertising. Some 1.5 million pamphlets and posters have been distributed across the state, Hosemann said.
Throughout the process, Hosemann said he’s paid special attention to ensure the change goes smoothly. He is also working to dissolve any speculation that the new voter ID process is akin to voter suppression tactics used in Mississippi elections of the past, particularly during the Civil Rights era.
No litigation has been filed against the state as of today. Hosemann believes that is an indication that all political parties are satisfied with how his office has handled the transition.
“We had a whole history here, and part of this process, I think, is to close that chapter,” Hosemann said. “We want the Mississippi electorate to be focused on health care, education, jobs, the things that are important. Not historical barriers. We’re not going to repeat history. We’re not going to replicate those problems, and we haven’t.”