Refuting Attacks on Mississippi
A recent editorial article by Alan Draper of St. Lawrence University is so misleading, inaccurate and an example of lazy journalism mixed with weakly guised prejudice, I believe a reply was necessary. Not deserved-but necessary.
In Mr. Draper’s comments concerning Mississippi’s implementation of a government issued Voter ID, he indicated shortly after the Supreme Court issued the Shelby decision, the “Mississippi’s Attorney General announced plans to implement the State’s Voter ID Law.” Actually, that was the Texas Attorney General. The Secretary of State of Mississippi (who happens to be me) called the U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division within minutes of the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision.
In that conversation, and the written correspondence which followed, we offered to maintain open Mississippi’s Voter ID regulations pending any comments the U. S. Justice Department deemed appropriate. We did so for six (6) months. As part of Mississippi’s implementation, we provided free transportation to any citizen to the local circuit clerk’s office (99% of the citizens of Mississippi live within twenty (20) miles of a circuit clerk’s office), we provided free verification for birth certificates at the circuit clerk’s office and free issuance of a Mississippi Voter ID. Over two thousand (2,000) of those were issued. Following any election, voters are given a week to return with photo identification and verify their ballot.
The unsubstantiated claim as to the availability and the possession of photo identification by any voting population is totally false. In two (2) statewide elections, which included both democratic and republican primaries, 99.9% of Mississippians exhibited satisfactory photo identification. No one was deprived of their right to vote. Particularly, the reference to the quote that our State continues “to deprive people of their vote, with the same sordid racial overtones continues today” is false, an unsubstantiated personal opinion and not those of the voting citizens of the State of Mississippi. No litigation was filed concerning Mississippi’s implementation of Voter ID by the U.S. Department of Justice, any citizens group, or any citizen. This was not the case in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Texas, Arkansas, North Carolina, or Georgia. But, it was in my State of Mississippi.
We received two (2) national awards for our outreach campaign and television advertisements. Two (2) other states have requested information on how Mississippi addressed this issue. We welcome the opportunity to share how our citizens work together.
Mississippians remember our election past and are loathed to replicate it. However, we are not our father’s father Mississippi and our future is now determined by the collective work of today’s citizens. The implementation of reasonable constitutional photo identification when casting your ballot is a good example.
I noticed St. Lawrence University has a three percent (3%) minority enrollment. Should Mr. Draper desire to visit an integrated university, we would welcome him to visit any of Mississippi’s universities or junior colleges.
Secretary of State
About Delbert Hosemann, Secretary of State:
Delbert Hosemann was first elected as Secretary of State in 2007. Since taking office, Secretary Hosemann has worked tirelessly to ensure the integrity of the vote, maximized the return on our 16th Section lands for the benefit of our school children, and reformed Mississippi’s business laws to promote economic growth and create jobs. A true fiscal conservative, Secretary Hosemann has also reduced his budget by over $2-Million dollars since taking office.
Friends of Delbert Hosemann
P.O. Box 321286
Flowood, MS 39232