Deciding whether to believe the Brennan Center study which “estimated 48,000 low-income Mississippians could have trouble obtaining government-issued photo identification” or an afterthought-study (no federal observers, eligible voter percentages) which suggests only 21,855 Mississippians total would need one?
Mind you, the afterthought was prepared by proponents who requested $395,000 for poll-tax (driver’s licenses aren’t free and Mississippi’s unexpired license requirement is tantamount to a recurring voting fee) ID litigation and requested none for related education and outreach.
A very conservative figure for a Mississippi education and outreach program would be $200,000. Georgia’s costs $840,000 and featured radio and TV public service announcements, direct mail, and packages to government agencies. And then there’s this post-Civil War purge element: “a person can obtain the free voter ID card at a clerk’s office by presenting the same material accepted to register to vote.”
This Haneyism, after Mr. Haney from television’s “Green Acres,” masks the fundamental change in Mississippi voting requirements. Proponent, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann knows full well that Mississippians didn’t need to present a birth certificate to register to vote before the disenfranchisement legislation, therefore this implied ease is most disingenuous. And where, Mr. Haney, is the money for the clerk’s office “to access birth records” and who will pay?
Registered voters have registration cards, and in signing a voter roll are affirming their identity, like swearing to tell the truth in a court of law (without showing a photo ID to the judge). Mississippi Republicans have in effect established the presumption of guilt in voting law and suggest cheating is rampant, when nearly every statewide official is, ahem, Republican.