Mississippi to Voters: Show Your ID!

ColorLines blogger Brentin Mock checks in on Mississippi's tough new voter ID law signed on Thursday. Before stepping into the booth, voters are now required to show IDs under the law that is bound to face legal challenges.

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ColorLines blogger Brentin Mock checks in on Mississippi's tough new voter ID law, which was signed on Thursday. Before stepping into the booth, voters are now required to show IDs under the law that is bound to face legal challenges.

Yesterday, Democrats in Congress unveiled the Voter Empowerment Act of 2012, legislation aimed at strengthening election procedures for voters. On the same day, Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law a bill mandating voters show photo ID before hitting the polls, a law that was passed by ballot referendum by 62 percent of voters. 

While Mississippi Democrats were invited to join the governor’s signing ceremony, none joined. Similarly, no Republicans were present for the congressional Democrats’ introduction of their voter bill. Both pieces of legislation will face challenges coming online. The intersection between what Democrats are attempting in Congress and what Republicans are attempting at the state level—in Mississippi and beyond—around voting shows a tragic collision from which democracy, citizens of color, and many without wealth and resources will be the casualties.

Speaking about the Voter Empowerment bill he co-sponsored, Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer said, “Just six months from a presidential election and amid an unprecedented drive to impose new restrictions on who can vote in states across the country, Democrats will fight for the right to vote and for the integrity of our electoral system. This bill is a major step towards greater accountability and broader access.”

Using similar language, Mississippi Gov. Bryant said the voter ID law, “makes it easy to obtain a photo ID and put it in the hands of all voters. Our hope is to increase participation in the voting process. … We try and believe that it is our job to encourage this process but also bring about integrity.”

Read Brentin Mock's entire blog entry at ColorLines.

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