New Voter I.D. equipment has been installed in the Neshoba County Circuit Clerk's office in time for identification cards to be issued for those in need by the June 3, 2014, primaries.

Circuit Clerk Patti Duncan Lee said, hopefully, by Feb. 1, she would be able to start registering people without an acceptable voter I. D.

She plans to attend a Circuit Clerk's conference in Jackson on Jan. 8-10 which will include training regarding Voter I. D.

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the controversial voter I.D. amendment was voted on by Mississippians in 2011 and passed by the State Legislature in 2012.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has required Mississippi and other states with a history of racial discrimination to receive clearance on any changes in voting laws from the U.S. Department of Justice.

"Our regulations are carefully crafted to meet any requirements," said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, "Should there be [a challenge], I'm confident we'll prevail."

Lee said people need to realize that not everyone will be eligible for a voter I.D card issued through the office.

"If you have a driver's license, a student I.D., an employer I.D., a Tribal I.D., any government issued I.D. or employer I.D. that has your likeness on that, you do not qualify for a voter I.D. card," said Lee.

"While it appears everyone will need one of these and everyone will have to present themselves here, that's not the way it is."

If someone does not have one of these accepted I.D.'s then they need to apply for a Mississippi Voter I.D. card which is free of charge to the voter.

"We are dedicated to ensuring that anyone who does not have an acceptable I.D. receives one at no cost," said Hosemann.

Hosemann said to receive a voter I.D. card a voter must fill out an application and bring either an expired but valid photo identity document having the voter's name and photograph issued by the U.S. government or any U.S. state, birth certificate or any legal document with the voter's name and photograph issued by the U.S. government or any U.S. state, a Social Security card, a Medicare or Medicaid card, or a Mississippi voter registration card.

If someone does not have transportation or a birth certificate, his office has already made arrangements with the state Department of Transportation for rides to the clerk's office and with other states to find birth records, Hosemann said.

"Every argument they proposed in these litigations we answered," he said.

Hosemann's office is moving forward with a major publicity campaign in the new year leading up to the election.

"We will travel across the state implementing a massive voter outreach campaign to inform the public of the requirement.

"We have met with political parties in the state and many other organizations and interest groups, asking for their assistance with implementation," he added. "Over 62 percent of Mississippians approved a constitutional voter I.D. requirement."

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