Voter ID Laws

Lots of people get mad about having to show ID at their polling place in order to vote. I don’t really see how this is a big deal for most people, especially here in Mississippi. The idea is simple—to discourage people from voting who are not eligible to vote, and to eliminate voter fraud.

If you are a legal resident of Mississippi, chances are you have an ID card that’s acceptable to use. For example, if you’re driving—legally anyway—you have a form of ID that is acceptable. If you’re in the military, your CAC card is accepted, and so is the card issued to your dependents. The same goes for any other photo ID issued to you by a branch, department, agency, or other entity of the US Government—in other words, if it is a government issued ID, you’re fine. That goes for employee IDs, too. And passports. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be something from the state of Mississippi.

And what if you’re a college student who doesn’t drive? That’s OK too. They’ll accept your student ID as long as it is from an accredited Mississippi school for higher education. If you have a tribal photo ID, they take that too. They’ll even take a firearms license if you have one.

Somehow, if you don’t have any of these things, and you’re really an American citizen who has the right to vote, never fear. You can go to any Circuit Clerk’s Office in the entire state and apply for a Voter ID card. It’s free. You only need one form of documentation, and they’ll take nearly anything: a recent bank statement or utility bill, a paycheck or government-issued check issued in the last six months, a social security card, your birth certificate, a Medicare or Medicaid card… the list goes on and on.

I am a firm believer in the democratic process. I think that if you want to vote in an election, that is great. Everyone who is eligible to vote should do so. I think we should have elections on weekends or call them holidays and give people the day off. It would encourage more participation and then we would have officials who better represent the will of the people.

However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking people for ID. This way everyone votes only once and you can be sure that the people who are voting are doing so in their correct district. I want the people who vote in my area to be directly impacted by the choices they make so that they choose the best candidate. I don’t want some guy voting in the city for Mayor who lives in a rural area outside of the mayor’s purview.

And if you are a US Citizen or you came here legally, you either already have one of the required forms of ID or you can get one free of charge pretty easily. I don’t see anything wrong with keeping people honest about who they are, where they live, and being sure that people only vote one time.