Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he wants to include opponents of voter identification as state officials work to implement Initiative 27, the state constitutional amendment passed last week calling for Mississippians to present photo identification before voting. “My goals would not be to have people on the sidelines of the field waiting for someone to fumble the ball,” he said. “Help me implement it.”
Getting opponents’ help could aid the state when it seeks Justice Department approval. Under the federal 1965 Voting Rights Act, Mississippi must seek preclearance from federal officials before it makes changes to election procedures because of its history of discrimination against black voters.
Attorney General Jim Hood will make the filing with help from Hosemann and the Department of Public Safety. Hosemann said he hopes to have voter ID working before the 2012 presidential election.
Opponents say they’re willing to talk, but they’re also planning to seek federal rejection of the amendment, which 62 percent of voters favored Nov. 8. The amendment calls for voters to show government-issued photo identification before they are allowed to vote, but lays out no details. How voter ID will actually work could prove crucial to federal approval.