A bill to implement Mississippi’s Voter Identification Law passed in the Senate 34-14 today, but not without a lengthy and sometimes fierce debate. House Bill 921 would require voter identification for all elections. The measure heads back to the House for more work. Mississippi voters passed a voter ID initiative by a 62-38 percent margin last November. Justice Department officials have said they are waiting for enabling legislation before determining whether the law complies with the Voting Rights Act. Sens. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, Kenneth Wayne Jones, D-Canton and Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, members of the Legislative Black Caucus, spoke against the bill, saying the measure echoes the Jim Crow era. “Jim Crow laws are coming back again dressed up pretty. I don’t understand how we can do something to suppress some Mississippians,” Jordan said. “All of you are my friends, and I don’t understand how anyone can trust God and do wrongful things to their own brothers.”
Sen. Gary Jackson, R-French Camp, asked Jordan if he was questioning his Christianity. Jackson later accused Jordan of injecting race into the debate. “Who’s living in the past? You or I?” Jackson asked Jordan. “I’m using my preacher voice because I’m passionate about this,” Jackson went on to say. “This is not a question of Christianity. This a question of law.” “Laws can be wrong. So is this one,” Jordan responded.