JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - If you plan to vote next year in Mississippi and don't have a proper photo ID, don't wait to get one. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced Monday that circuit clerks across the state will begin issuing Mississippi Voter ID cards in January 2014.
Voter ID will be in effect beginning with the June 3, 2014 Primary Election. That means any voter casting a ballot at the polls on June 3rd or by absentee ballot in person at the Circuit Clerk's Office prior to the June 3rd Primary Election will be required to show an acceptable form of photo ID.
"We are committed to ensuring everyone who is qualified to vote has the opportunity to cast a ballot, and we need your help," Secretary Hosemann said. "With the holiday season around us, many of you will be out volunteering in your communities. If you know of anyone who lacks an acceptable form of photo ID, we ask you to contact our office so we can provide a free photo ID in advance of the June 3rd Primary."
If a voter does not have any documentation proving their identity, Circuit Clerks may verify their birth record free of charge. If they need transportation to a Circuit Clerk's office, the Secretary of State's Office will even facilitate transportation free of charge.
The cards aren't for everyone. Only voters who don't have an acceptable form of photo ID will receive a free Mississippi Voter Identification Card, which will show the photo, name, address, and county of the voter. The card prominently states it is to be used "For Voting Purposes Only" and will contain several security features. It will not contain the voter's date of birth.
"We wanted to make the photo and the name of the voter the prominent features, but we did not want the card to resemble a driver's license. The card does contain security features to inhibit unauthorized duplication," Secretary Hosemann said. "We are dedicated to ensuring anyone who does not have an acceptable ID receives one at no cost," added Secretary Hosemann.
"We will travel across the state implementing a massive voter outreach campaign to inform the public of the requirement. We have met with political parties in the state and many other organizations and interest groups, asking for their assistance with implementation. Over 62 percent of Mississippians approved a constitutional voter ID requirement. With your help, we look forward to assisting our local election officials with implementation."
For more information regarding the voter ID requirement, or for Voter ID outreach materials, contact the Secretary of State's office at 1-855-868-3745 or visit www.MSVoterID.ms.gov.