How you vote in Mississippi will soon change and before it happens, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann wants to make sure everyone will still be able to vote.
"We don't know how many people are out there but our goal is to have every single one of them covered by a voter ID if they need one," said Hosemann.
Showing identification before you cast a ballot will become the new norm thanks to the voter ID law which 62 percent of Mississippians approved last November. With that upcoming requirement, Hosemann is looking for anyone who doesn't already have an ID and get them one free of charge.
"We don't think there will be very many of those to be issued quite frankly, but we want to make sure that's covered," said Hosemann.
Before any IDs can be issued, the legislature must first appropriate the money for funding, which Hosemann expects to happen during the next legislative session in January. That money, would put cameras for IDs in all 82 counties.
Hosemann says that'll be a cost anywhere between $200,000 and $300,000. He wanted voter ID to be in place for November's presidential election, but says that's not likely to happen, especially since the Justice Department is yet to give the state the go ahead.
"If they don't, there's a legal avenue. We have to go to court in Washington D.C. to get it approved, so I don't think it hinges on the Justice Department but it sure would be easier if they would approve our application," said Hosemann.
This year, lawmakers set aside money for an anticipated legal fight which Hosemann says his office is ready for. That's where he says the state would see the most expense. Before it gets to that point though, Hosemann wants the roll out of the new law to have as little impact at possible.
"Clearly there are dead people on the rolls and voter rolls are bloated in like 14 counties. We have those kinds of problems, people know that and that's why they voted for a voter ID," said Hosemann.
Individuals who will need a free voter ID are encouraged to contact the Secretary of State's Office:
A current and valid ID card issued by a branch, department, agency or entity of the State of Mississippi;
A current and valid United States passport;
A current and valid employee ID card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by any branch, department, agency or entity of the United States government, the State of Mississippi, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of the State;
A current and valid Mississippi firearms license to carry a pistol or revolver;
A United States military I.D.;
A valid tribal photo ID; or,
A student photo ID issued by a Mississippi university, college, or community college.
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