JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi does not register voters by party affiliation, so Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff for a U.S. Senate seat is open to any voter who did not cast a ballot in the June 3 Democratic primary, state law says.
A federal appeals court ruled in 2008 that a separate Mississippi law is unenforceable. It says a person may vote in a party’s primary only if he intends to support the party’s nominee in the general election. The state’s Democratic attorney general and Republican secretary of state said in a joint news release Monday: “A person lawfully in the polling place may challenge a voter based on party loyalty only if the voter openly declares he does not intend to support the nominees of the party whose primary the voter is participating in.”
Mississippi also used its voter identification law for the first time June 3. It requires each voter to have driver’s license or other type of government-issued photo ID, such as a student or military card, a government employee card, a passport, or a gun license. The state also provided more than 1,000 free photo ID cards to people who lacked one of the types specified in law.
A person who goes to the polls without ID can vote by affidavit ballot, but the vote will only be counted if the person goes to the local election clerk to present ID within five days. The state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, says 513 people cast affidavit ballots in the June 3 primaries because they didn’t have government-issued photo ID. Of those, at least 177 returned later to election offices to show ID and have their ballots counted, 298 did not return and 13 affidavit ballots were rejected for other reasons.