By Sue Harmon | MoveOn.org, Kosciusko
FOR THE PROPOSAL
Why should you vote “Yes” for Voter Identification?
Because the right to vote is too important to allow dishonest people to steal elections by voting in the name of other people; often times in the name of dead people or folks who are out of state on Election Day. The integrity of our entire election system is at stake. For too many years, as nearly every other state in the nation has strengthened the protections of their election procedures, Mississippi once again trails behind as one of only a handful of states that does not require any form of photo identification before casting a ballot on election day.
In a culture when you are required to show photo ID to fly out of an airport, cash a check or even rent a movie from a video store, surely it make sense to ask citizens to show a form of government-issued photo ID before they vote.
Voter ID will not cure all problems with the elections in Mississippi but it will go a very long way to ensuring that dead people do not vote – as has happened in Mississippi within the past few election cycles – and it will ensure that people only get one vote per election. This makes ultimate sense to people of all political backgrounds.
The proponents of this initiative do not buy into the argument forwarded by the opponents, which is that this would drive down turnout among Mississippi voters. What it would accomplish, however, is to guarantee that every vote cast is done so legally. Please join the thousands of Mississippians in voting “Yes” for Voter ID and in doing so, helping us clean up Mississippi’s election system.
State Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-SUMRALL, wrote an argument for the initiative in a brochure distributed by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
AGAINST THE PROPOSAL
The Voter ID initiative should be decided on the basis of “dollars and sense.”
Implementing Voter ID amounts to a 21st Century poll tax. Those who do not have the documents required to obtain an ID will have to spend money to get documents such as birth certificates. These documents are not free, so some persons will be forced to “pay to vote.” The 14th and 24th amendments prohibit any costs or fees associated with voting. In the 1966 case Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited the use of poll taxes as a prerequisite to voting in local and state elections.
Voter ID laws in other states provide for provisional ballots that require voters without ID on election day to show proof of ID within two days after the election to have their ballots counted. However, the use of such provisional ballots violates the Federal Voting Standards and Procedures Act of 2003; that act requires states to streamline registration, voting, and other election procedures.
Finally, Mississippi needs to funnel more money into job training and education; Voter ID should not be at the top of its funding priorities. Confirmed cases of individuals impersonating another voter at the polls in this country are so low that there are no successful studies of the extent of such acts of fraud.
Should Mississippi spend money on something that is not an issue? It will be quite expensive for both the state and the citizens affected to implement Voter ID. The Legislative Budget Office estimates that the state’s share alone will be $1,499,000 in taxpayer dollars, and additional IDs will need to be issued every year from now on.
There is not enough sense in the idea of Voter ID to justify the investment of all those tax dollars.
Sue Harmon, a resident of Kosciusko, is affiliated with Moveon.org and wrote against the initiative in a brochure distributed by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.