The Circuit Clerk's office has identified a large number of individuals who do not have identification but only one has come fourth since the voter identification law initiated.
According to Bolivar County Circuit Clerk Marilyn Kelly, the number of individuals who have come fourth does not come as a surprise.
"Since 2005, we have had a system that identifies individuals who lack identification. We try to be a little proactive when it comes to our older voters because a lot of them do not have liaisons that can help them," said Kelly.
Kelly said the circuit clerk's office might see a larger number of applicants during the primary elections in June.
"I do not recommend individuals to wait because it takes approximately two weeks for them to receive the card. Our office takes the picture but a third party mails them to the recipients," she added.
"Some people think that they can walk into the clerk's office, take the picture and receive a card but it does not work this way. I am not favorable of the process," she continued.
Kelly said most citizens in Bolivar County have some form of identification.
"We are pretty much approaching the identification/information age. You need some type of identification for multiple reasons – whether it be to pay a bill online or to pay a bill in person," added Kelly.
Although many citizens have some form of identification, Kelly said she is worried about individuals in the county that do not have identification.
"We do have resources that we use to check for individuals who do not have identification. While these resources are working, now is the time to go on and contact the circuit clerk's office. The law is still the same. People who do not have any form of identification should contact the circuit clerk's office because early is always better," she added.
To get a free Mississippi Voter Identification card, the voter must bring in one of the following to the circuit clerk's office: any expired but valid photo identity document having the voter's name and photograph issued by the U.S. government or any U.S. state; birth certificate or any other document with the voter's full legal name, date, and place of birth; social security card, Medicare card or Medicaid card; Mississippi Voter registration Card; utility bill issued within the preceding six months; bank statement issued within the preceding six months; paycheck issued within the preceding six months; government check issued within the preceding six months or an Internal Tax Revenue W-2 form.
If a voter does not have any of the documents previously listed, the circuit clerk's office can verify a voter's birth information free of charge.
The voter must give the circuit clerk the following information: full legal name, date of birth, state of birth, gender of birth and mothers maiden name.
"When there are new laws, people tend to panic. We would like for the panic to kind of die down first because we are here to help. When I first heard about the law I panicked because I know when there is something new, we have to revamp our structure for election operations," said Kelly.
Although voter identification is new to the county, Kelly said this is not the only obstacle that voters may face at the polls.
"Historically, in Bolivar County, addresses have always been a problem. When it comes to voting in general, addresses are a problem. People move and the poll book determines where you vote based on where you live," she added.
"Your address is important but it is not the most essential. Individuals at the poll are going to be more concerned with whether or not your picture matches," continued Kelly.
"Your address will not prevent you from voting, you will be allowed to vote but if the poll worker questions where you live versus who you are, then you will be allowed to vote provisionally," she added.
According to Kelly poll workers and election officials are really going to have "their work cut out for them" because it is going to take a lot of time and effort to effectively identify each voter based on photo identification and address changes.
"If citizens act now, they can make the proper corrections they need to avoid difficulties on election day.
"Early is the best policy when it comes to clearing your voting records or updating voting records. People need to update their addresses now based on where they live now," she said.
For more information or to obtain a free Mississippi Voter Identification Card, contact Kelly at 662-843-2061.