On Tuesday, Mississippi voters passed a constitutional amendment that requires voters to show government issued photo identification in order to vote. The initiative includes provisions for free photo IDs, but as with all photo ID laws, the impact on voters will depend on implementation. Although many of the states that passed voter ID laws this year offer free IDs, voters still face hurdles in acquiring proper ID.
Last month, a 91-year-old Tennessee woman couldn’t get a photo ID because she was physically unable to stand in a long line. A South Carolina man does not have an official birth certificate (he was born at home in 1926) and was therefore denied a free state ID. It would cost $150 for him to get the underlying documents necessary to secure a “free” ID. In Wisconsin, Department of Transportation employees are not allowed to tell residents about the free photo ID for voting, unless the individual specifically asks.
However, not all states make voter ID overly burdensome. For example, in Michigan, voters who show up without photo ID can still vote a regular ballot if they sign an affidavit. State-by-state variations in voter ID laws make it impossible to determine how the amendment will affect voters in Mississippi, and if they will be able to get proper ID in time to vote.
Your nonprofit can ensure that no one misses the opportunity to vote because of ID requirements–help your clients and constituents learn more about voter ID in your state.