May 20, 2012
Democrats in Congress unveiled the Voter Empowerment Act of 2012, legislation aimed at strengthening election procedures for voters. On the same day, Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law a bill mandating voters show photo ID before hitting the polls, a law that was passed by ballot referendum by 62 percent of voters.
While Mississippi Democrats were invited to join the governor’s signing ceremony, none joined. Similarly, no Republicans were present for the congressional Democrats’ introduction of their voter bill. Both pieces of legislation will face challenges coming online. The intersection between what Democrats are attempting in Congress and what Republicans are attempting at the state level—in Mississippi and beyond—around voting shows a tragic collision from which democracy, citizens of color, and many without wealth and resources will be the casualties.