BY JUSTIN MINYARD
Area residents and community leaders attended a Voter ID seminar Tuesday at the Clay County Courthouse to get a better understanding of Mississippi’s new Voter Identification law for a wider dissemination of the information.
The new law, sponsored by District 41 Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane in 2011, mandates that Mississippi electors present a government-issued photographic identification card at voting polls in order to cast a vote.
Secretary of State Regional Coordinator Angie McGinnis said at Tuesday’s seminar that it was imperative that residents execute a word-of-mouth approach to ensure as many electors as possible are informed on the new law. With that, McGinnis said the Secretary of State’s Office has launched an “aggressive campaign” to spread the word.
Right off the bat, acceptable forms of photographic ID cards, according to McGinnis, include the following:
n a driver’s license;
n a photo ID card issued by a branch, department or entity of Mississippi;
n a U.S. passport;
n a firearms licence;
n a student photo ID issued by an accredited Mississippi university, college or community/junior college;
n a U.S. military ID;
n a tribal photo ID; and
n any other photo ID issued by any branch, department, agency or entity of the U.S. government or any state government.
Individuals without any one of the listed forms of identification can, as of January, visit with the county circuit clerk to apply for a Mississippi voter identification card. According to McGinnis, to apply for said state voter identification card, individuals must bring to their county’s circuit clerk one of the following:
n any expired, but valid, document having the voter’s name and photograph issued by the U.S. government or any U.S. state;
n a birth certificate or any other document with the voter’s full legal name, date and place of birth;
n a Social Security card;
n a Medicaid or Medicare card; and
n a Mississippi voter registration card.
McGinnis said individuals can also bring one of the following documents issued within six months of issuance, so long as the voter’s name and current address are displayed: a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or an Internal Revenue Service W-2 form. If none of the preceding documents are available, McGinnis said the circuit clerk will attempt to verify an elector’s birth information at no cost.
However, according to McGinnis, individuals are only eligible for a Mississippi voter identification card if they do not possess one of the government-issued identification cards previously listed. McGinnis said after applying for a state-issued voter identification card, the circuit clerk will to take a photograph of the elector as well as issue him or her a voter identification receipt.
“If it is within four to five days of an election, and the voter has not yet received their official voter ID card mailed to them by an outside vendor, then the voter can use the voter ID receipt card to vote,” McGinnis said. “If it’s more than four to five days, they’re not even going to give you back that form, so as not to confuse you — they’re just going to let you look at it to verify that’s your picture and correct information.”
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