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Hardship claims against voter ID have no merit

So what was the big deal?

     Years of debate over voter identification have been marred in part by claims of hardship and inconvenience for those in need of ID cards. As it turns out, most voters already have an acceptable form of identification should Mississippi’s proposal become law.

     Last week, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann released findings from a survey that indicated more than 98 percent of Mississippians already have one of the eight acceptable forms of voter ID. The survey of 6,000 individuals was conducted on Election Day, Nov. 6, at 30 polling places around the state.

     The Republican Hosemann, of course, is working to gain U.S. Department of Justice pre-clearance of Mississippi’s voter ID constitutional amendment that was approved last year by more than 62 percent of voters in the state. Pre-clearance is needed because Mississippi remains covered under voting rights provisions of a 1965 federal law.

     Survey results should put to rest any inconvenience-related arguments about voter ID. However, Hosemann is not stopping there.

     For the small handful of people who would need to get a photo voter ID card, Hosemann is implementing rules that would allow those people to get a card free of charge at the circuit clerks’ offices around the state.

     To take the assistance even further, Hosemann is touting an agreement with the Department of Vital Statistics to let those offices verify birth records for anyone needing that information to get an ID card. And a planned agreement with the state Department of Transportation would utilize existing services to give free rides to the clerk’s office to get an ID card!

     Federal approval of Mississippi’s voter ID law still faces an uphill battle to reality as Democratic-leaning political considerations within the Department of Justice could derail state plans.

     Those arguing against voter ID have claimed hardship and inconvenience for voters needing identification; however, Mississippi officials clearly are taking whatever steps necessary to ensure ID card access at no cost to voters, effectively neutralizing such claims.

     Couple those steps with Hosemann’s survey findings that show most voters already have acceptable forms of identification, and it appears hardship claims are now completely empty of merit.