Mississippi election officials preparing to use the state’s voter identification law for the first time are training poll workers, hosting community information sessions and sending out more than 1.5 million pamphlets. The first test of the state’s controversial law will be the June 3 primary for candidates for U.S. Senate and House. “It’s going very well here. The opposition to this appears to have melted away,” said Republican Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “We have found as we have rolled this out over the last 90 days our political parties have embraced it … and we have had our faith-based communities embrace it.”
But Democrats and local and national civil rights groups say they continue to oppose the law and are monitoring what happens in Mississippi, which has had a history of discrimination at the polls. “We’re looking at Mississippi very closely,” said Pratt Wiley, director of voter protection for the Democratic National Committee.
The DNC recently launched a project to make sure voter rights are protected against new election laws, including voter ID, Wiley said. “These laws do affect every household. … We’re not just talking about voter ID,” he said, adding that women and minorities are particularly affected by the laws. “This isn’t just a Southern problem. It really does touch every single corner of the country.”