I was notified yesterday that a newly-registered voter in Rankin County was unable to secure a free photo identification card at the circuit clerk's office because the camera at the clerk's office "was not working properly." Allegedly, they were told to go to the Highway Patrol office which would mean paying for a $17 identification card there. This flies in the face of the argument made by Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann that voters will get free identification cards.
After hearing about this technical malfunction, I called the Rankin County Circuit Clerk's office to figure out what was going on. They confirmed that the camera was not working and that technical support was on the case. The office was unable to set a timeline on when the camera would be working properly or how long it had been out of operation.
I then called the Secretary of State's office to ask "If a voter is unable to get a free identification card at the circuit clerk's office, what happens?" The nice gentleman from the Secretary of State's office sounded hesitant to commit to solid instructions so I simply informed him that the camera in the Rankin County Circuit Clerk's office is offline. He thanked me for the heads up and that they would dispatch a technician as soon as possible.
The questions that lingers are whether these cameras undergo routine maintenance, especially a month from Election Day; how long the problem in Rankin County had been going on; have they been instructing voters to pay for a identification card at the Highway Patrol office; whether the clerk's office would have done anything unless they were called out about it; how many other counties have similar problems; what instructions (if any) is Secretary Hosemann providing to the circuit clerks in situations like this?
Some may say "Well, it's just one voter and it got resolved, so it's no big deal." Well, it is a big deal. First, this is an American citizen we are talking about. Second, the voter still does not have photo identification to present at the polls. Third, this voter could be someone you know.
I have no idea who this person will vote for next month or in future elections; that's not the point. The point is that a voter has to jump through more hoops in order to participate in this fundamental obligation to our republic.