Most political observers have little doubt three ballot initiatives to amend the Mississippi Constitution will pass on Nov. 8, but there’s debate over whether they will drive higher voter turnout or give the GOP an advantage. With elections drawing near, the initiatives don’t appear to have drawn the public fervor many expected a year or more ago during petition drives to get them on the ballot.
With court challenges cleared — at least for now — over two of the initiatives, voters will decide:
• Personhood: Whether to define life as beginning at conception
• Eminent domain: Whether to prevent government from taking someone’s private property and giving it to another for development
• Voter ID: Whether to require a person to submit a government-issued photo ID to vote
“I think these will be a conservative get-out-the-vote (driver),” said Tim Saler, state Republican Party director. “Sure, I think they’ll help (Republicans) for that reason. They will draw out conservative voters who care about these issues but maybe are not passionate about a particular candidate.”
Rickey Cole, state Democratic Party director, disagrees.
“It’s above my paygrade to try to figure out what makes a Republican think or vote,” Cole said. “But I believe there are going to be Republicans and Democrats voting yes and no on all three initiatives, and I don’t see any of them as being concretely partisan. The party hasn’t taken a position on any of the initiatives, and I don’t think turnout is going to be driven by any one factor.”