Report: Voters will face challenges getting a photo ID
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
A national report is out examining Voter ID laws in nearly a dozen states. When it comes to Mississippi, the report shows a lot of folks who would be faced with challenges in getting a state issued ID.
It's a 40 page report put out by the Brennan Center for Justice, looking at Voter ID laws in 10 states, laws which are either in effect or, as in Mississippi's case, under consideration. That report claims half a million Americans in those states will face significant challenges in getting a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Nearly 50,000 of those people are in Mississippi.
"Voters in all of these states are going to encounter some serious difficulties obtaining voter ID."
Co-author of the report, Sundeep Iyer, says the documentation needed, transportation required and distance to travel are all obstacles in getting an id. Since the Voter ID ballot initiative passed last year, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has been working on a plan to get it in place. Hosemann was out of the office on Thursday, but in past interviews he's stood by his efforts to put a free ID in the hands of anyone without one.
"I think it's a very small number, you know, less than one percent of the population that doesn't have an ID, but we want to identify those, go knock on their door, get them either to sign an affidavit and give them a waiver or get them down to the courthouse where they can get their picture taken for free and give them an ID," said Hosemann.
Hosemann plans to have cameras set up in all 82 county courthouses. The report, however, points out poor public transportation throughout the state only adds to the challenge for those in rural areas and those without access to a car.
"Advocates across the county who have passed these Voter ID laws have claimed that voter IDs are pretty easy to get for those people who do not have one. This report shows that really isn't true. For many of those voters that don't have Voter ID already, it could be very difficult to obtain," said Iyer.
The state's application for Voter ID is currently with the Justice Department. Hosemann's office says circuit clerks would be responsible for making sure photos are taken.
Hosemann is also working with civil and community groups to provide transportation to those who need it.
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