Petition drive underway to put voter id to a statewide vote

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A movement is underway to require voters to pull out their driver's license the next time they head to the polls. Citizens for Voter I.D. is trying to collect enough signatures to get a statewide vote on whether to require voters to show some type of photo id before casting ballots.

When volunteers knocked on Ernest McCabe's door asking him to fill out a petition in support voter id, he had to decline. That's because he'd already signed. He said he worries about people cheating the system.

"I want to support it to get a fair vote for everybody," said McCabe. "I pay too much taxes to have my money spent otherwise."

Citizens For Voter I.D. says the message being taken to the streets is that preventing voter fraud makes sense.

"It's only logical. Everybody wants honest and free elections," Volunteer Wayne Tisdale said. "To cash a check, to get a drivers license, to do anything you have to show an id to prove that you are who you say you are. Without that safeguard, it is so easy for voter fraud. It's been going on for generations."

The volunteers say 90,000 certified signatures must be collected statewide to put voter id on ballot in November 2011,  and 18,000 of the people who sign must live in the southern part of the state. Citizens For Voter I.D. is concentrating on Harrison County.

"We have an objective down in Harrison County of over 6,000 signatures," said Tisdale.

Citizens for Voter ID says other groups are working across the state with the same goals.

"Virtually everyone you ask, almost, will sign," said Tisdale. "There has been very, very few people that wouldn't sign the petition. All we're doing is to get it on the ballot, so it can be voted on."

Volunteers say the signatures must be certified by the Harrison County Circuit Clerk who will them forward them to the Secretary of State.

People can pick up petitions at the following locations:

  • Biloxi - Comvest Properties, Bernie's Restaurant
  • Gulfport - Vintage Station, Sweet Peppers, Hallmark Mortgage
  • Woolmarket - Palazzo C.P.A.
  • Any Sleep King store

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