Meridian Star

Local News

November 11, 2009

Hosemann: Voter ID inches along

More than half of the 90,000 signatures needed to get a Voter ID Initiative on ballot next year have been gathered, according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

"Last time I checked, they were approaching 55,000 signatures," said Hosemann.

The Republican party is in charge of getting the signatures; the secretary of state's office will have to confirm them.

"Of those, they have to be equally divided between five congressional districts. So you could have 25,000 in one (district) and 6,000 in another and you wouldn't make the requirements for the initiative," he said.

A Web site has been set up to track each signature by district. The required signatures must be gathered by Feb. 14, 2010, to get the initiative on the 2011 ballot.

"I'm encouraged by the fact that we are at 55,000; I wish we were more," Hosemann said. "I think clearly everybody I talked to is very favorably inclined; the great majority of Mississippians are very favorably inclined to have a reasonable voter ID requirement."

However, getting those individuals' signatures has been a challenge. Hosemann said a grassroots effort will probably bring it to fruition.

"I think that's what you'll see during the last couple of months that we have to get these signatures," he said. "A grassroots effort where you'll see people who have an interest in this – Republicans, Democrats and all others – being voted on in 2011. I think you'll see them hitting the streets in the last push to get to 90,000."

Hosemann said voter trends statewide and locally – such as turnout and registration – have shown some change, particularly last year.

"We had a phenomenal response last year. We had a contested Republican primary for president, and a contested Democratic primary. Those drove the numbers much higher, in the hundreds of thousands higher than we've really ever had before in Mississippi," he said.

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