Harrison Co. Circuit Clerk creates its first voter ID

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi's effort to make sure voters without proper identification have the opportunity to receive a free photo ID is now being put to the test. Tuesday, the Harrison County Circuit Clerk's office used the new system for the first time.

"Everything went wonderful," employee Jennifer Smith said. "It was very easy. Very smooth. The lady was very patient so everything went great."

Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker said a survey showed only one percent of the county's 108,000 registered voters are eligible for this kind of ID because they already have another form of identification that will be acceptable at the polls. The woman who came in was in that one percent because all she had was an out of state driver's license.

"Their driver's license was over 10 years old and she had no other form of ID," said Parker. "She filled out the application. It's a sworn statement. There were 10 items on there that she had to answer. We took the picture. It will be mailed to Georgia and they will send her the voter ID."

On June 3rd, Mississippians will need an ID to cast their votes in primary elections. Although the system to issue free voter ID cards is in place, the training that goes along with implementing the new law is not over.

"They're going to have extra poll worker training this year. There will be a video tape that the poll workers have to go through and there will be extensive training on voter ID form," Parker said. "The law has just been changed and it will be implemented in the primaries in June. This will be the first time that Mississippi voters will need a voter ID. I think it's going to be fine. The Secretary of State has done a lot of homework already on this. I think just getting the message out to the voters what they have to have."

To make the voter ID law work smoothly, the Secretary of State's office says the state spent $226,000 for the cameras, equipment, and the campaign to spread the word to voters about what they'll need at the polls.

Parker said she doesn't think having to show ID will affect wait times at the polls.

"I don't see that it's going to hold up the line any more than usual. The main thing is they still have to be registered to vote and show their voter ID when they come in," Parker said.

Hancock and Jackson County Circuit Clerks offices have not yet issued voter ID cards and their Circuit Clerks do not expect a great demand.

If someone has the following type of identification, he or she is not eligible for the free voter ID:

1. Driver's license

2 Photo ID card issued by a branch, department, or entity of the State of Mississippi

3. United States passport

4. Government employee ID card

5. Firearms license

6 Student ID from accredited Mississippi university, college, community college or junior college

7. United States military ID

8. Tribal ID

9. Photo ID issued by a branch, department, agency, entity of the United States government or any state government

10. Mississippi voter identification card

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