Meridian Star

Local News

March 3, 2008

Voter reform bill headed to House

Lauderdale County “tops in the state” on clean voting

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is on a mission.

After viewing a poll that showed 80 percent of Mississippians believed voter fraud had occurred in the last election, and after seeing that his own father, who had been dead six years, had recently "voted," Hosemann is pushing a bill to put a stop to voter fraud in Mississippi.

The voter reform legislation package has already passed the state Senate and is now on its way to the House.

The bill would cause several changes. First, "no-excuse voting" would be implemented. Voters who plan to be out of town on election day would be able to cast their vote at their circuit clerk's office up to 15 days before election day. The vote would not be counted until election day, but could not be changed once cast. This is in an effort to reduce voter fraud that occurs via absentee ballots, and would do away with the ability of an "agent" to pick up another person's absentee ballot.

Students, military, the elderly, the disabled, and others who traditionally vote by absentee ballot would still be able to vote that way, but folks who are just going out of town would have to vote early at the circuit clerk's office.

All Mississippi voters would also be required to re-register after certain time increments in an effort to remove improper names, such as

those of the deceased from the rolls. Casting a vote will count as a re-registration. Voters who do not vote or re-register over a three-year period will be sent a reminder to re-register via mail, and will then have two years to do so before having their names removed from the rolls.

Voter Authentication, a trend that is being picked up by more and more states in the U.S., is also included in the bill. If the bill is passed, voters will be required to show a driver's license or state-issued identification card at the polls before voting. Voter ID cards will be available free to anyone who does not have a driver's license or state ID.

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