Mississippi officials are confident the state’s new voter ID constitutional amendment will pass muster despite the Justice Department’s rejection of a similar South Carolina law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that voter ID is constitutional and we believe that Mississippi’s plan for implementing voter ID will be constitutional as well,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said Saturday.
Under the federal 1965 Voting Rights Act, both states must seek clearance in advance from federal officials before making changes to election procedures because of their history of discrimination against black voters. Sixty-two percent of Mississippi voters approved the voter ID initiative Nov. 8.
Hosemann has said he hopes to have voter ID working before the 2012 presidential election.
Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, said the Justice Department reached the right conclusion for South Carolina’s law and the same results should be expected for Mississippi.
“We will continue to object on the grounds that voter ID is a vote suppression method that will prevent disadvantaged senior citizens and students who are African-American from exercising their right to vote,” Johnson said. Johnson said supporters of the initiative have never provided any example of how voter ID would correct any instance of voter fraud.
If the federal government rejects the law, the state can file in federal court to seek approval.