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Officials to study Texas ID ruling

September 1, 2012

FROM WIRE REPORTS

JACKSON (AP) — The Mississippi secretary of state’s office will study a court ruling that struck down the Texas voter identification law to see if it might have an impact on Mississippi’s law.

Pamela Weaver, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, said officials in Hosemann’s office, who have been monitoring Isaac, will look at the ruling from a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

A Mississippi law that would require people to display a government-issued photo identification to vote is pending before the U.S. Department of Justice. Under federal law, all changes to Mississippi election law must be approved by either the Justice Department or the District of Columbia federal court.
In Thursday’s ruling, the panel said the Texas law placed “strict unforgiving burdens on the poor,” specifically racial minorities. Texas officials have said they will appeal.

Hosemann told The Associated Press in a June interview that he and his staff are reviewing documents related to the Justice Department’s rejection of voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina. That includes filings in Texas’ appeal of its case to the federal court.

“In the perfect world, when we show up at the Justice Department with this, our application would be so complete that they would approve it. Unless it’s a political issue, our application should address every issue they have raised in Texas or South Carolina or any of the case law we had read or anything else,” Hosemann said at the time.

Supporters say showing ID would prevent people from voting under others’ names, but opponents say there have been few examples of that happening. Opponents also worry that an ID mandate could suppress turnout by racial minorities, disabled people and older people.

Hosemann has said there were key differences in the Texas and Mississippi voter ID laws. For instance, a photo ID from a public Mississippi university or college could be used to vote. Under the Texas law, a photo ID from a public university was not listed as acceptable.

In Mississippi, the plan is to put cameras in each courthouse where people who do not have an acceptable form of ID, such as a driver’s license or student ID, can obtain one free of charge. But the Legislature did not appropriate money to install the cameras.

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