Mississippi residents voted last fall on three ballot initiatives. The ACLU of Mississippi opposed two of them. Initiative 26 is a proposal that would have amended the Mississippi Bill of Rights and inserted the government into the personal, private health care decisions that women and their families make every single day. Initiative 27 is a proposal that requires government-issued identification at the polls.
58% of Mississippians voted to defeat this extreme measure that threatened reproductive freedom in Mississippi.
This extreme measure would threaten many common and life-saving medical treatments including:
Mississippi voters passed this initiative. Many Americans do not have the necessary identification that these laws require, and face barriers to voting as a result. Research shows, for example, that more than 21 million Americans do not have government-issued photo identification; a disproportionate number of these Americans are low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and elderly. Many of these Americans cannot afford to pay for the required documents needed to secure a government-issued photo ID.
Voter ID laws have the potential to deny the right to vote to thousands of registered voters who do not have, and, in many instances, cannot obtain the limited identification states accept for voting. As such, these laws impede access to the polls and are at odds with the fundamental right to vote.
Our country has come a long way because of the civil rights movement and passage of the Voting Rights Act; voter ID requirements are a step backwards.
Multiple studies have found that almost all cases of in-person impersonation voter “fraud” are the result of a voter making an honest mistake, and that even these mistakes are extremely infrequent. It is important, instead, to focus on both expanding the franchise and ending practices which actually threaten the integrity of the elections, such as improper purges of voters, voter harassment, and distribution of false information about when and where to vote. None of these issues, however, are addressed or can be resolved with a photo ID requirement.