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Mississippi passes voter ID requirement

Mississippi voters on Tuesday approved the Mississippi Voter Identification Petition [materials] by 62 percent, creating a new requirement that voters show government-issued photo identification at the polls. The ballot included a disclaimer [referendum brochure text, PDF] explaining a government-issued photo identification costs approximately $14. Several rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi (ACLU-MS) and the Mississippi National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) [advocacy websites] have stated this amounts to a "poll tax." Although the law allows for an ID to be issued for free if the person doesn't have one, the re-issuance of essential documents for that, such as birth certificates or Social Security cards, have a fee attached. Both groups are looking into a constitutional challenge of the new law [Clarion Ledger report].

Also Tuesday, Washington electorates passed [Patch.com report] Senate Joint Resolution 8205 [text, PDF] by 71 percent, which brings the state in line on voter residency requirements. The law amends the Washington state constitution [text] to reduce the residency requirement for voting in presidential elections from 60 days to 30. These regulations had already been in effect in the state since the US Supreme Court ruled in Dunn v. Blumstein [opinion text] that residency requirements beyond 30 days were unconstitutional.

Finally, 60 percent of Mainers voted to repeal [Bangor Daily News report] Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011, An Act to Preserve the Integrity of the Voter Registration and Election Process [text], which required registering to vote at least two days before the election. The repeal will reinstate a 38-year-old practice of same-day voter registration in Maine.

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