Alabama Requires Photo IDs for Voting, Then Shutters DMV Offices in Black Counties

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer | ( Commondreams.org) | – –

“The ‘decision to cut out ID services to almost all counties with a majority black population is discriminatory and wrong,’ says ACLU of Alabama.”

Some observers say that Alabama’s move to close dozens of drivers license offices is a discriminatory move that could trigger a civil rights probe.

Here’s why: in 2011 lawmakers approved a voter ID law requiring a government-issued ID to vote, and the 31 offices the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency set for closing—which the agency said was due to the $11 million cut in the new General Fund appropriation—will take a disproportionate hit on counties that are majority African-American.

Columnist John Archibald writes that “Alabama just took a giant step backward.”

“Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one,” he continues, writing that the state “might as well just send an invitation to the Justice Department.”

“It’s not just a civil rights violation,” Archibald writes. “It is not just a public relations nightmare. It is not just an invitation for worldwide scorn and an alarm bell to the Justice Department. It is an affront to the very notion of justice in a nation where one man one vote is as precious as oxygen. It is a slap in the face to all who believe the stuff we teach the kids about how all are created equal.”

Columnist Kyle Whitmire makes similar charges, writing:

Depending on which counties you count as being in Alabama’s Black Belt, either twelve or fifteen Black Belt counties soon won’t have a place to get a driver’s license.

Counties where some of the state’s poorest live.

Counties that are majority African-American.

[…] When the state passed Voter ID, Republican lawmakers argued that it was supposed to prevent voter fraud. Democrats said the law was written to disenfranchise black voters and suppress the voice of the poor.

Maybe, maybe not.

But put these two things together — Voter ID and 29 counties without a place where you can get one — and Voter ID becomes what the Democrats always said it was.

A civil rights lawsuit isn’t a probability. It’s a certainty.

On its Facebook page, the ACLU of Alabama writes that the “decision to cut out ID services to almost all counties with a majority black population is discriminatory and wrong.”

“Before the Supreme Court struck down key provisions in the Voting Rights Act last year, something like this would have had to be reviewed by the Department of Justice. This is why we need to stand together and show our lawmakers that we need an update to the Voting Rights Act, and we need it now,” the organization continued.

In its Health of State Democracies assessment issued in July, which includes voting equality among the criteria, the Center for American Progress Action Fund ranked Alabama dead last, giving the state an “F” for how it fared on accessibility of the ballot.

8 Responses

  1. But but but the Republican National Committee claims RACISM IS OVER in America. Ask GOP Presidential candidate Bobby Jindal or FAUXNews serial liar, Bill O’Reilly to name but a few who have made this claim?

      • Only in the interpretation espoused in corporate-controlled media.

        The status of overt racism is still intact in our country. It happens every single day and in fact is INCREASING in frequency here in the real world.

        Better do a tad more research?

        • If you bothered to read my comment below you would see that I am not disagreeing with you. I am saying that the Supreme Court is in on the scam with the GOP.

    • Once currently-under-indictment Texas Attorney General Paxton blows the whistle on former Governor Perry and current Governor Abbott over the long-time mishandling of the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) everything will change.

      Make some popcorn, this will be fun to watch.

  2. Like many of the classic scams used by Jim Crow, this scam also hurts poor whites. Poll taxes hurt the poor of every color, while grandfather clauses entirely targeted blacks. Literacy tests were rigged by the white officials administering them, so they could pass whomever they wanted to vote.

    The complexity of this network of discriminatory schemes may have let the rest of America shrug and say “it’s too complicated to prove intent” and look away for 90 years. That certainly is what is happening now. We don’t want to admit that yet again the “most patriotic” Americans are the most racist and anti-democracy, because what does that say about our true identity as Americans?

    The horrifying thing about Jim Crow is that poor whites never took to the streets against those laws that also disenfranchised them. They ultimately valued being non-voting members of the Master Race more than having a vote that they shared with blacks. I see no signs that this attitude has changed. They will never march alongside blacks to overturn this unfair conspiracy.

    • Read your missive but there is a somewhat different take regarding the SCOTUS and the overt racism of the extremist Justices. So, bear with this?

      The nibbling at the ankles by extremists of long-standing law and the PERSONAL opinions blurted by a few Justices nominated by a moron court-installed President changes nothing. Some of whom have gone so far as to call our President, a gentleman of color, a liar to his face while sitting as audience in Congress. These racist ticks embedded in positions of power, trust and authority BRING DISGRACE to each and every one of us and our once great country as they suck equality and decency from our laws.

      Voting rights for citizens are still universal. Law forbidding hate crimes still exist and housing cannot be denied on the basis of color. The fact some of these laws have recently been weakened is another clear indication that overt racism is still very much part of the American condition.

      No matter what corporate-controlled media would have us think.

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