Gov. Phil Bryant on Thursday signed a bill requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, but it’s unclear if it will become law.
Because of Mississippi’s history of racial discrimination, the state is required to get federal approval for any change in election laws or procedures. The U.S. Justice Department in recent months has rejected voter ID laws from Texas and South Carolina.
Legislative debates about voter ID have been sharply divided along racial lines for years. No black officials attended the bill-signing ceremony in the governor’s Capitol office. Bryant was surrounded by several fellow Republicans and some TEA Party members.
Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock said Democrats who supported voter ID were invited to stand behind the governor during the bill signing.