Mississippi Makes The Choice For Voter ID
Due to the newly passed Initiative 27, voters will now be required to present a photo ID before casting their ballot.
Yesterday, initiative passed 63 percent to 37 percent, exceeding the required simple majority of 51 percent.
“It just makes me feel more confident that all the people voting are registered, and have a right to be there voting,” Oxford resident and nurse David Allen said. “It feels safe, like along the same lines of when you charge for something on credit card and they ask for your ID.”
The initiative will require voters to submit government issued photo identification before being allowed to vote. It exempts certain residents of state licensed care facilities and religious objectors from being required to show photo identification.
To vote, any government issued photo identification is accepted, including drivers license, military ID or an ID from the Dept. of Public safety, and will now be required every time one goes to the ballot.
This idea has met a lot of controversy due to cases in Tenn., Kan., and Wis. that make it difficult for students, lower income citizens, and minorities to get voter IDs. Civil rights advocates have said that the requirement of specific forms of ID will disenfranchise the under privileged who lack drivers licences, military IDs or any other form of government identification.
“I think it’s neglecting the voices of a lot of people in this country,” said Doug Whitely, sophomore philosophy and psychology major. “It’s neglecting their voices on any governmental affairs.”
The inclusion of voter ID in the election process is also receiving a lot of support from those concerned about the legitimacy of the political process.
“I fully support initiative 27,” said Evan Kirkham junior public policy major and ASB Attorney General. “It’s a surefire way to prove the continuity between voter registration documents and the physical voter. The integrity of this state’s elections are sure to be upheld.”
This issue has been debated amongst the Mississippi State Legislature for over 2 years.
Though the initiative is official policy, the debate over voting rights and the integrity of the voting system still goes on as it is expected to be challenged in state court.
“Now that it’s passed, if there is still strong dissent I am all for seeing how this initiative holds up in the state courts,” Kirkham said.
I've had the privilege to write content for a variety of publications and digital media, including The Daily Mississippian, The Oxford Eagle, The Red Blue and Green Blog, The Elevator Project, and The Visit Oxford Blog,