Hood issues opinion on enforcement of voter ID
by MBJ Staff
Published: May 27,2014
JACKSON — The Attorney General’s Office has issued an opinion to the Secretary of State’s Office regarding the enforcement of the voter ID requirement at the polls.
State law says each person who votes at a polling place must identify himself or herself to an election manager by presenting current and valid photo ID before they may cast their ballot. Mississippians who cast an absentee ballot at the Circuit Clerk’s Office are also required to present acceptable photo ID.
Miss Code Ann. Section 23-15-563 (5) states, “the intentional failure of an election official to require a voter to present identification as required by this section shall be considered corrupt conduct under Section 97-13-19 and shall be reported to the Secretary of State and Attorney General.”
The penalties for “corrupt conduct” under state law include “imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term not exceeding two years.” State law also provides for a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $100 or imprisonment in the county jail not less than 10 days nor more than 90 days, or both, for a conviction of willfully refusing or knowingly failing to perform any duty required by the election laws.
Attorney General Jim Hood also opined that when notified of any “corrupt conduct” by an election official, the secretary of state should notify the appropriate district attorney and county prosecuting attorney of the county in which the crime was allegedly committed.
Acceptable photo ID must be presented to election officials when voting at the polls on June 3, and for all voters casting a ballot in person at the Circuit Clerk’s Office prior to the primary election.
“Mississippi is one big small town,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “When we cast our ballot on election day, there is a high probability of knowing the poll workers in the precinct. However, voter ID is not discretionary. Poll workers must ask for photo ID and voters must present photo ID at the polls on election day.”
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