Voter ID requirement clears Senate

Voters in Mississippi would have to show some sort of identification to cast a ballot in state elections, under a controversial bill approved Wednesday by the state Senate.

The bill, which passed 30-15, now goes to the House, where it will likely be met with opposition.

Lawmakers have killed similar proposals over the past several years.

The proposal says voters would have to present a "current and valid photo identification, a government document that shows the name and address of the person, or a Social Security card that shows the name of the person."

Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, argued that people need identification for many things these days, like to cash checks or secure mortgages, most people already have identification anyway.

"There is a need for some type of identification to make sure our elections are being done properly," Fillingane said.

But Sen. Johnnie Walls, D-Greenville, said showing identification would only frighten some blacks and slow down the election process.

"Over the past years, there were isolated cases of people that reported they were unable to vote in the elections because someone had already voted in their names," Walls said. "I believe there is not enough evidence of voter fraud to warrant changes in our voting system."