County prepares to enact voter ID
by Paisley Boston
Jan 07, 2014 | 689 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Voter identification laws are in affect and according to Bolivar County Circuit Clerk Marilyn Kelly; citizens must obtain proper identification before voting to prevent a large number of problematic issues at voting precincts.

"The first election this year is in June, we have a small window and the circuit clerk's Office is not fully trained to handle voter identification law procedures.

"Circuit clerks from around the state will be meeting with the secretary of state’s office on Wednesday to consolidate and finalize some information on the voter identification process," she said.

"A lot of people have been calling and asking questions about the voter identification cards and hopefully we will be able to offer more clarity to our citizens by the end of the week," Kelly added.

According to the Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, individuals voting in person or by absentee ballot in the primary election inside the circuit clerk's office before June 3 will also be required to show a photo ID.

The June elections are primaries for November federal elections.

The following forms of photo ID may be used on election day: driver's license, photo ID issued by the State of Mississippi, United States passport, government employee ID card, firearms license, student photo ID issued by an accredited Mississippi university, United States military ID, tribal photo ID and a Mississippi Voter Identification card.

A voter may also use an expired photo ID on Election Day as long as it is an acceptable form of photo ID and is not more than ten years old.

The expired ID must contain the name and photograph of the voter and have been validly issued by the federal or state government.

Bolivar County Board of Supervisors Attorney Linda Coleman said that voter ID laws would pose as a huge problem for some.

"I think that it is important that people understand that even if they have identification, their address and their name must correspond. If it does not correspond, then they will be voting by affidavit," said Coleman.

"If you are registered to vote in your maiden name but your photo ID is in your married name, then that is definitely going to be a problem. You need to make the necessary corrections before you present yourself at the voting polls," she added.

Voters who vote an absentee ballot by mail, fax or email and voters with religious objections to being photographed are exempt from the photo ID requirements.

"This identification card will not and cannot be used for other identification purposes. Some citizens have been inquiring about the usage of the voter identification cards," said Kelly.

"These cards can only be used for voting purposes and will not be accepted for any other purpose," she added.

On Election Day, if an individual desires to vote but does not have a photo ID he or she will be asked to vote by affidavit ballot at the polling place.

"In the past, Bolivar County has been cited for having a high number of affidavit ballots, so I think that it is really important for us to follow voting procedures properly," said Colman.

The voter will have five business days to show an acceptable form of photon ID or apply for a Mississippi Voter ID card, at the circuit clerk's office.

"There are two aspects that are dealing with when if comes to this situation. There is definitely going to be a third party involved to assist the circuit clerk's office. There are going to be individuals appointed to take pictures and individuals who will primarily deal with the mailing of the cards," said Kelly.

"I believe that this process is going to be a last resort. Most people already have some form of identification that can be used for the voting process," she added.

Any eligible voter who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID qualifies for a free Mississippi Voter Identification card.

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.

According to Kelly, Hosemann has also implemented a free pick-up program that will offer transportation to individuals to and from the circuit clerk's office.

"It is here now and it is the law of the land therefore, individuals must abide by it and adjust to it," said Bolivar County Supervisor James McBride.

For more information or to obtain a free Mississippi Voter Identification Card, contact the Secretary of State's Voter ID Hotline at 1-888-868-3745 or email MSVoterID@sos.ms.gov.