Confusion created over voter identification rules - - The News for South Mississippi

Confusion created over voter identification rules


Mississippi's governor and Democrats in the state spread conflicting messages Wednesday about voter identification rules. 

Governor Phil Bryant said he thinks it would be a good idea for Mississippians to voluntarily show identification when they vote next week even though it is not required by law. Bryant, said he believes voter ID will help prevent election fraud. 

The chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party quickly called for Bryant to retract his comment, calling it, "An end-run around federal law and a source of confusion for voters." 

"Bryant made these statements knowing full well that there is no requirement for identification in this election. By pandering to the tea party extremists, Bryant has deliberately created confusion among voters and election officials with less than six days to go until the election," said Rickey Cole of the Mississippi Democratic Party. 

Bryant's comments came Wednesday in response to a question from The Associated Press after he spoke to a business gathering in Jackson sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council.       

About the same time Bryant was making his statement, county Democratic party chairmen in Mississippi stood on county courthouse steps to spread the message that no ID is needed to cast a ballot in Tuesday's election.

Though a supporter of Voter ID, Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann issues a statement last week reminding voters they will not need to present ID at the polls.

 Hosemann's statement read in part,

"Although more than 62 percent of Mississippi voters in November 2011 approved an amendment to the state Constitution requiring voters to present photo identification before casting a ballot, the election law has not yet received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice. Therefore, a Voter ID will not be required to vote on November 6, 2012."

The governor argued Wednesday, if people show ID to buy cigarettes and alcohol they should have to show it before voting. 

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