Free Ride: Mississippi to Make Sure Voters Can Get New Required ID

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[Image courtesy of rockworldeast]

Even as the politics around voter ID have raged on, there has been a subtle shift in the implementation of the laws in states where ID is now required. Initially, the fight about ID was whether or not it would be free. Then, the argument shifted to whether states were doing enough to ensure that people without IDs could get them. Now, at least one state (Mississippi) is going even further – offering to bring to voters to a government office to get their free IDs. WREG has more:

Voter ID became the law of the land in Mississippi on January 1st, but voters won’t need one until the next election on June 3rd …

But as the election gets closer, people will need some kind of official ID to cast a ballot.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann wants everybody to have an easy go of it, so he’s even offering free rides to local clerk’s offices across the state for people who call the Voter ID Hotline.

“We set this up through the Mississippi Department of Transportation and they have a network already and it includes about 500 vehicles spread across the state.”

The state is also trying to make the required documents easy to get:

H[osemann] says clerks will even check birth records for free too, as part of the application process.

Here’s something most people don’t know; they probably already have an acceptable form of ID and may not even need the special voter ID based on this checklist.

The list of acceptable ID includes a driver’s license, passport, gun permit, military or college ID, along with a few others.

“No state has taken the steps that Mississippi has to make their voter ID’s attainable,” said Hosemann …

[T]hose IDs will be a must-have, come the June 3rd Congressional primary.

For a Free Ride from the Secretary of State, call 1-844-MSVOTER.

These programs will be interesting because they will make it hard to argue that the state isn’t making ID available – especially since the state is willing to spend funds to bring voters in for free. Moreover, it will provide a source data on how many voters without ID seek these services to get ID, which could be important in policy fights down the line both in Mississippi and elsewhere. It may also turn up the heat on other states with ID requirements to engage in similar active outreach rather than simply relying on making free IDs available.

Stay tuned.

1 Comment on "Free Ride: Mississippi to Make Sure Voters Can Get New Required ID"

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