Sec. of state responds to comments from Dept. of Justice employee
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
With Mississippi's voter identification up to the U.S. Department of Justice, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says it may be a waste of time and money.
This after Stephanie Gyamfi, an employee responsible for application reviews, made public her view of Mississippi.
"Her comments were unprofessional, unwarranted, irresponsible and misguided," said Hosemann.
Those comments were posted on her facebook page and read like this, "disgusting and shameful. Hey, that should replace the state motto... Mississippi, disgusting and shameful... Forget the magnolia state motto."
Hosemann says he talked to Gyamfi and was told the comments were taken out of context. Regardless, Hosemann is calling for action.
"This employee not only should not review Mississippi's application for voter ID, she shouldn't review anyone's application for voter ID."
Texas and South Carolina had similar initiatives rejected by the department and Hosemann believes Mississippi may be next.
"It's more evidence of the bias of the staff at the justice department," said Hans von Spakovsky who worked in the department's civil rights division for four years
Spakovsky now works as senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Spakovsky says he's not surprised by the comments.
"I know this particular woman and she was one of the most partisan career people I ever ran into in the division," said Spakovsky.
The hope was to have voter ID in place before November's presidential election. With the comments and rejection of other states, Hosemann says that most likely won't happen, especially if the issue ends up in court.
That's exactly where Spakovsky says it should be.
"Mississippi would be foolish to submit the voter ID law for pre clearance to justice instead of just going straight to court in Washington," said Spakovsky.
Hosemann wrote a letter of concern to the department and got a call saying Gyamfi would not be working on Mississippi's application. Even so, Hosemann says stereotypes are playing a role where they shouldn't be.
"We just want our time at the plate and we want our time to be impartial by our government," said Hosemann.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Department of Justice responded to the comment in question saying it was made back in March after a group of students at a Southern Mississippi basketball game began chanting "where's your green card" as an opposing player was on the court.
The department maintains Gyamfi is a respected employee and isn't assigned to Mississippi's application.
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