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From wire reports
JACKSON (AP) â Attorney General Jim Hood says the Department of Justice has asked for more information on Mississippiâs voter identification law.
Hood said in a statement Tuesday that the bottom line is that the law will not be pre-cleared by the Justice Department in time for it to be enforced for the Nov. 6 election.
Mississippiâs law provides for a wide range of photo identifications that could be used at the polling places.
Supporters of voter ID say itâs needed to help ensure the integrity of elections by preventing people from voting under othersâ names. Opponents say thereâs been little proof of people masquerading as others to cast ballots. They also contend the ID requirement could suppress voter turnout among poor, elderly and minority voters.
âAll the DOJ is saying in this response is that they need more details of the stateâs plan in order to make a determination,â Hood said. âWhat this means is that the voter ID requirement will not be in place before the November election. You will not be required to show ID at the poll until DOJ interposes no objections or pre-clears Mississippiâs voter ID bill.â
Hood said some of the requested information is already compiled and can be easily provided. Once the state provides the requested information, Hood said the DOJ will have 60 days to respond.
In its letter to the state, the Justice Department asked Hoodâs office whether the state has determined that voter ID âwill not have a retrogressive effect on minority citizens in the effective exercise of their electoral franchise.â The DOJ also asks to review a detailed description of any measures the state intends to put in place to âameliorate this prohibited effect, which Hood said would include the rules and regulations being created by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
Hosemann has said his office has made provisions to offer free photo identifications at circuit clerk offices in each county courthouse, including looking up and verifying birth certificates on the spot. He also said heâs negotiating to provide free rides to courthouses for people without transportation. Mississippi also plans to accept some college student identifications.
Hosemann said those provisions should help Mississippi prevail in court even when other states have lost voter ID cases.
On Tuesday, a judge blocked Pennsylvaniaâs voter identification requirement from going into effect on Election Day. The law had been opposed by Democrats who said it was a ploy to defeat President Barack Obama and other opponents who said it would prevent the elderly and minorities from voting.
The decision by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson on the law requiring each voter to show a valid photo ID could be appealed to the state Supreme Court. Simpson ordered the state not to enforce the photo ID requirement in this yearâs presidential election but will allow it to go into full effect next year.
A wave of new voter identification requirements have been approved in the past couple years, primarily by Republican-controlled Legislatures.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indianaâs voter ID law in 2008, and Georgiaâs top court upheld that stateâs voter ID law. But a federal court panel struck down Texasâ voter ID law, and the state court in Wisconsin has blocked its voter ID laws for now. The Justice Department cleared New Hampshireâs voter ID law earlier this year, and a federal court is reviewing South Carolinaâs law.