By CARL SMITH
Potential Oktibbeha County voters have until noon tomorrow to register for the Nov. 6 General Election.
The Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk’s office, located at 108 West Main St. in Starkville, will open 8 a.m. Saturday to accommodate last-minute registration for first-time voters and those who have relocated to the area.
Circuit Clerk Glenn Hamilton said those wishing to register need to provide a legal form of identification and proof of address.
“We’ve experienced a steady stream of voters (wishing to register for the General Election),” he said.
Voters who wish to examine a sample ballot may do so at the annex, and the same sample ballot will soon be published to the county’s website, Hamilton said, located at http://www.oktibbehacountyms.org .
Comprehensive maps displaying election precincts and voting locations are also available at the site.
Mississippi’s new voter ID law will not be enforced during the Nov. 6 General Election as the U.S. Department of Justice is still studying if it could possibly discriminate voters.
In the November 2011 election, Mississippians approved a voter identification amendment to the state constitution. In the spring, both chambers of the Republican-majority Legislature voted to put voter ID into law. But because of Mississippi’s history of racial discrimination, it’s among the states required to get federal approval for any changes to election laws or practices.
In a statement Tuesday, Miss. Attorney General Jim Hood said the law will not be pre-cleared by the DOJ in time for the Nov. 6 election.
The DOJ also rejected voter ID requirements in South Carolina, and a federal court rejected similar requirements in Texas.
Those states are also among those needing federal clearance for election changes.
Also Tuesday, a judge blocked Pennsylvania’s voter identification requirement from going into action for the presidential election.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said the issue of whether the referendum had a discriminatory purpose “was decided last November by a vote of all the citizens of Mississippi in a free and fair election.”
In another pre-election move, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign is working to extend the deadline for receiving ballots from military and overseas voters.
Former U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi sent letters to various states, including Mississippi, charging that officials missed the Sept. 22 deadline for mailing some ballots to overseas and military voters.
The letter-writing effort targets election officials in presidential battleground states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, but extends into others — Mississippi and Vermont — neither side expects to be competitive on Election Day.
Federal law requires that ballots be sent to military and overseas voters by Sept. 22, and be returned by Nov. 9.
The letters copied in the DOJ. If the department doesn’t bring legal action, a Romney spokesperson said the campaign will consider it.
The Justice Department said in an email that it was reviewing compliance with the law nationwide and would take enforcement action where necessary.
The Romney campaign sent its letter to the election commission in Hinds County. The letters do not indicate how many voters in each of those states may be affected.
Hinds County election officials have said the deadline was missed for just 13 voters, but they have all since received their ballots electronically.