By Delbert Hosemann
2016 was a milestone election year for Mississippi.
In 2011, 62 percent of Mississippians approved a citizen-initiated State Constitutional Amendment requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. This year, 99.9 percent of voters came to the polls on Election Day with acceptable ID.
While many other states re-main embroiled in expensive litigation over voter ID, Mississippi’s law has not been challenged.
The Secretary of State’s Office consulted a broad crosssection of key Mississippi and federal stakeholders in implementing voter ID. These included the heads of political parties, Circuit Clerks, Election Commissioners, attorneys, in-terest groups, and the U.S. De-partment of Justice. Litigation is expensive. Our schools need our taxpayer dollars.
On November 8, the Justice Department dispatched more than 500 federal monitors to 28 states. Their purpose included ensuring there was no prohibited racial discrimination on Election Day.
None were sent to Mississippi.
Rarely does the Justice Department exclude Mississippi from its list of states in need of observance in a Presidential election.
The credit belongs to Missis-sippi voters who showed up to their polling places, displayed courtesy to their friends and neighbors, cast their ballots, and departed to allow others to do the same. We trusted each other, and the result was a free and fair election.
Conducting an election is a human endeavor. The Secretary of State’s Office takes every single problem, no matter how minor, and every impacted vote, seriously. Our Agency, Circuit Clerks, and Election Commissioners are continually searching for ways to improve the process.
All in all, Election Day in Mississippi—with voter ID and without federal monitors—was a clear success. Governance begins at the ballot box. Mississippi voters turned a page in the history of our State’s electoral process on No-vember 8. Each of you who cast your ballot had a hand in turning that page.