Bolivar Countians speak out on voting rights
by Kevin Pearson
Jul 02, 2013 | 2459 views | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court removed a key provision of the Voting Rights Act which would allow certain state and local governments with a history of discrimination, including Mississippi, to no longer need federal approval to make changes to their voting laws and procedures.

Mississippians approved a state constitutional amendment in November 2011 that would require all voters to show ID before voting.

The removed provision of the Voter Rights Act would allow this amendment to be in effect by the June 2014 elections without the approval of the federal government.

In a recent AP story, Sen. Kelvin Butler, D-McComb, said, “This is a blow. ... With the Supreme Court saying we don’t need these safeguards, I don’t know where they got their information from. In my opinion, this would disenfranchise people.”

The Bolivar Commercial asked some citizens of Bolivar County what their opinions were on the Voting Rights Act and the voter ID law.

Martha Biles, 80, of Cleveland said, “I’m all for it and I don’t see any reason not to have it. We require it for drivers licenses and, often times, for cashing checks. People can get free IDs from the highway patrol so that should be no argument.”

Charles Coleman, 22, of Cleveland said, “As a U.S. citizen it makes sense to have a photo ID to vote because it can allow the voting process to run more efficiently and accurately. And by having a photo ID it validates that the voter is who he/she says they are.”

Rob Lee Rich, 63, of Cleveland said, “In my opinion it sounds pretty good.”

Joe Dancy, 25, of Mound Bayou said, “It’s needed because we are an open door nation and we have privileges other nations don’t get so we need to make sure everyone voting is a citizen.”

Polly Hawkins, 77, of Merigold said, “Well as far as the voter ID law, I didn’t know we had one, but we need one and we need to enforce it. Everybody needs to have to show ID. You’ve got to show an ID for just about anything you do, so why wouldn’t you have to show one for voting? I’m for that 100 percent. We’ve needed that all along. There are too many people voting more than one time or that are voting that aren’t on the rolls to vote. I can see why some folks don’t want to show their ID but if you don’t have anything to be ashamed of, you won’t be ashamed to show it.”

Marry Dill, 76, of Cleveland said, “You have to register to vote because that’s a privilege we all have and we sure need to take it because this day in time there’s so much going on. You have to show your ID at the hospital or anywhere you go so I think we should have it.”

Artie Ford, 50, of Ruleville said, “I don’t think it’s fair because it’s going to cause the minority to have ID. A lot of old people don’t have ID and then that will stop them from voting. I just don’t think it’s right.”

Holly Harkins, 21, of Cleveland said, “I definitely support the new voter ID law. I do not find it to be discriminatory at all because there are many acceptable forms of ID besides just a driver’s license such as student IDs, military IDs, and even tribal IDs. Also, the state promises to issue a voter ID card free of charge to eligible voters who cannot obtain any of the other accepted forms of identification.”