Hosemann: Voter ID starts today - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Mississippi leaders react to ruling on Voting Rights Act

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The nation's high court made a decision that has many questioning the future of voting practices in Mississippi and other southern states.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was renewed four times,most recently in 2006. Mississippi leaders are already sounding off about how this ruling could impact the magnolia state. But not everyone's in agreement with how the changes could affect you at the polls.

"We're not the same old Mississippi our fathers' fathers were," said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann in Tuesday's press conference.

Mississippi is one of nine states that's been covered by the Voting Rights Act.

But Tuesday's decision by the Supreme Court changes the rules, saying the data Congress uses is outdated.

Hosemann said, "Mississippi has earned and deserves the right to be treated like every other state in their voting process. We will continue to do so in a non discriminatory manner. We have come a long way in a half century."

But members of the Legislative Black Caucus have a different idea.

"If Mississippi is on a level playing field, I'll eat my hat," said Senator John Horhn.

"It's really a blow to the efforts that have been put out there to get equal rights for everyone," said Representative Credell Calhoun.

Senator Horhn said while progress has been made, the Act is necessary.

"Pre-clearance particularly was a good tool to use to at least mitigate some of the foolishness that we see come our way through the legislative process and through other means," Horhn explained.

Representative Credell Calhoun is sounding the alarm and hopes Congress can quickly find a new formula that won't rewind the clock on civil rights.

"I can almost guarantee you that there's some troubling times ahead for the minority or black community, especially where voting is concerned," said Calhoun.

The ruling also gives the green light to pending matters before the Department of Justice. That includes Mississippi's voter ID law. This means the state doesn't have to wait to start implementing the new voting rules

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