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Mississippi voter ID law presents catch-22 for would-be voters

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Though it has yet to be fully implemented, Mississippi’s new voter identification law is already posing a challenge to some people hoping to register to vote. That’s because some residents are trapped in a legal limbo where, to get a voter ID, they need a birth certificate, and to get a birth certificate, they first need a photo ID.

The dilemma, first reported by the Jackson Free Press, could potentially keep otherwise-eligible voters off the rolls come November unless something is done to remedy the problem. A spokesperson for Mississippi’s Secretary of State confirmed the catch-22 to the paper.

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Mississippi is one of several states that have aggresively pursued voter ID laws to crack down on alleged voter fraud. Under the state’s new rules, voters must present an approved form of photo identification in order to vote. The state is offering free IDs to anyone who needs them, though to get one, applicants must present a birth certificate. However, to get a birth certificate, applicants for that documentation also need a photo ID. Not having a photo ID is why most people need a voter ID in the first place.

The Mississippi voter ID law is currently on hold because it is under review by the Department of Justice. Critics contend that the law, and others like it, infringe on voting rights and disproportionately target poor citizens and minorities.

Mississippi voters approved the constitutional amendment in 2010, with 62 percent of voters favoring the ID law.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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