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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, February 11, 2011

5th Circuit Did Not Reject Voter ID

The Clarion-Ledger ran an edited version of this letter to the editor on January 18, 2011.


In her column on voter ID ("Referendum vote could end lengthy voter ID debate," Jan. 11), Associated Press writer Shelia Byrd mentioned the lawsuit brought in 2006 by the Mississippi Democratic Party, the purpose of which was for the party to gain the ability to block non-Democrats from voting in Democratic primaries. Byrd made it sound as though that suit's dismissal by the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008 was a rejection of voter ID. That's absolutely false.

U. S. district Judge Allen Pepper, ruling in favor of the Democrats, had declared our state primary election law unconstitutional. He also went further and injected voter ID and voter registration by party into the case-- erroneously, in my view. The 5th Circuit threw out the suit on procedural grounds[1], which had nothing at all to do with the issues in the case (Mississippi Democratic Party v. Barbour, 07-60667).

At the time of Pepper's ruling in 2007, twenty-four states already had some type of voter ID.

This has nothing to do with voter ID, but Idaho's Republicans and South Carolina's Republicans subsequently filed federal lawsuits similar to the Mississippi Democrats' suit. A decision is expected any time now in the Idaho case (Idaho Republican Party v. Ysursa, 08-cv-165).


[1] The Democrats had not adopted a party rule for a closed primary.


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