Circuit clerk’s office prepared for voters
by Paisley Boston
Jan 29, 2014 | 576 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bolivar County Circuit Clerk Marilyn Kelly said that voter ID will not pose as much of a problem at the poll but changes in address will be a major conflict.

"Anytime there are changes to voter laws, people are a little panicky. Our biggest issue in Bolivar is to make sure that people are doing what they have been doing and that is just making sure that their address is accurate," said Kelly.

"Historically it has always been a problem," she added.

According to Kelly address identification is much more important than picture identification.

"We have a lot of voters that move around a lot. We just ask that they come to our office or send us proof of a change in address. The poll book is indexed by your address. It is about where you are living and not what you look like," she continued.

Kelly said that the circuit clerk's office has received the proper equipment to issue voter identification but she wants to ensure that voters are registered to vote at the right address because this could lead to other problems at the polls.

In a previous interview, Bolivar County Board of Supervisors Attorney Linda Coleman said it is important people understand that even if they have identification, their address and their name must correspond.

If it does not correspond, then they will be voting by affidavit.

"In the past, Bolivar County has been cited for having a high number of affidavit ballots, so I think that it is really important for us to follow voting procedures properly," said Coleman.

Kelly said that it is sometimes hard to combat the county's ongoing issues with a voter's address but her office is going to strive at making the process a little less strenuous.

She also mentioned that the circuit clerk's office has not issued any voter ID cards but they are setup to do so.

"I believe that Bolivar County is pretty much ready to do voter ID's. It is hard for us to know really if the equipment works until we get an actual voter in," added Kelly.

"We have the equipment to do the voter ID cards and we are trying to make sure that it is compatible with the equipment that we already have," she continued.

Kelly said she is working on a campaign that will primarily focus on ensuring that individuals between the ages of 60 and 90 receive voter ID cards first.

"It is hard to really pinpoint those who do not have a photo ID. We have a few people who have indicated that they have absolutely no form of picture identification," said Kelly.

"I had a gentleman to come in with a birth certificate but no picture ID. We are going to try to identify those individuals by using our voter role. In Bolivar County, our electronic voter role is very helpful. It is driven by date of birth," she added

To aid in this campaign the circuit clerk's Office plans to reach out to various agencies for assistance in identifying individuals who may not have any form of photo ID.

"We plan to reach out to certain agencies in Bolivar County that cater to this particular population on a day to day basis such as the Bolivar County Council on Aging," said Kelly.

"We are just one office and we are trying to reach out to 25,000 voters. For the most part I really feel that it is going to be a statewide effort to reach everyone who does not have any form of photo ID," she continued.

Receiving voter identification cards is easy. It is set up on a walk in basis and it is designed to make the voting process a less complicated.

"Voter registration is already a mechanism set up to reach out to voters who are not registered at all to vote," Kelly continued.

"I would like to stress to those individuals who already have an ID to revisit the list of acceptable identification that the secretary of state has published," she added.

The following forms of photo ID may be used on election day: driver's license, photo ID issued by the state of Mississippi, United States passport, government employee ID card, firearms license, student photo ID issued by an accredited Mississippi university, United States military ID, tribal photo ID and a Mississippi Voter Identification card.

Any eligible voter who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID qualifies for a free Mississippi Voter Identification card.

To get a free Mississippi Voter Identification card, the voter must bring in one of the following to the circuit clerk's Office: any expired but valid photo identity document having the voter's name and photograph issued by the U.S. government or any U.S. state; birth certificate or any other document with the voter's full legal name, date, and place of birth; social security card, Medicare card or Medicaid card; Mississippi Voter registration Card; utility bill issued within the preceding six months; bank statement issued within the preceding six months; paycheck issued within the preceding six months; government check issued within the preceding six months or an Internal Tax Revenue W-2 form.

If a voter does not have any of the documents previously listed, the circuit clerk's Office can verify a voter's birth information free of charge.

The voter must give the circuit clerk the following information: full legal name, date of birth, state of birth, gender of birth and mothers maiden name.

For more information or to obtain a free Mississippi Voter Identification Card, contact the Circuit Clerk's Office at 662-843-2061 or visit www.MSVoterID@sos.ms.gov.