Alabama’s DMV Shutdown Has Everything to Do With Race

Don’t believe a word of it: It’s all about race.

Despite state officials’ quick denial that the closing of 31 Alabama DMVs has nothing to do with race, it is a fact that the closures – mostly in poor, majority black counties – disproportionately hurts Black voters. Period.

Fifty years ago in Selma, the civil rights movement won a hard fought battle to gain the right to register to vote. It took bloodshed in the streets, lives lost, a march to Montgomery, and the passage of the Voting Rights Act to make sure that African-American citizens had the right to vote. It was all about race.

Unfortunately, some things in Alabama never change. When it comes to making sure people can vote, the state of Alabama has on its hands an avoidable problem. Our legislature passed an unnecessary law that put excessive burdens on citizens by requiring them to get a photo ID in order to exercise their fundamental constitutional right to vote — despite the well-known fact that in-person voter fraud is rare.

Now Alabama closes 31 0f 67 Department of Motor Vehicle locations where most people get the most commonly used voter ID, the driver’s license. The majority of these counties in the state that are home to poor and Black people are on that list. The photo ID law already disenfranchises voters who are not able to obtain IDs. It has been reported that there are currently 250,000 registered voters who don’t have IDs so are now unable to vote in Alabama unless they either travel outside their county to get a driver’s license or take a burdensome trip to a separate location (which is even harder without a  driver’s license!) just for a voter ID. And that disproportionately hurts Black voters.

Before the United States Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Alabama would have had to submit this change for review by the U.S. Department of Justice to determine whether the closure was against the law. The fact that it was implemented without approval is just most recent example of why Congress needs to restore the Voting Rights Act.

Indeed, the very day that Alabama was no longer required to submit voting changes to the Department of Justice, Alabama announced its implementation of the photo ID requirement that had been delayed because of the requirements of the Voting Rights Act.  This is all about race and about what communities are most affected by the state of Alabama’s bad choices.

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Anonymous

Lots of inuendo.. very little concrete support for your claim. I'd be happy to listen to your argument but you need to support the claim. This goes for any claim, period.

Anonymous

I'm curious what more concrete support would you like? Close to half of the DMVs were closed!

Anonymous

How can voter Id be racist when all citizens can receive one. The excuse to not be able to get some form of ID that is verified and shows the person is voting is false. The ID are free. If anyone can get tot eh grocery store, they can get to the DMV for ID. It is not racist to have laws that say ONLY citizens can vote in this country. There have been incidences of voter fraud and people who are not citizens voting. Most did not know they couldn't, others were told to do it...so what is the problem? Explain how this keeps citizen from getting a ID and voting.

Anonymous

I cannot believe we have to keep fighting these battles over and over again. I know we'll always have low-information/low-intelligence racist conservatives among us, but there seem to be so many of them now.

Anonymous

Conservatist are not ignorant or low information, but liberals would give away our rights in heart beat, I have yet to hear one liberal that defends our constitutional rights, most do not believe in the Constitution unless it benefits their agenda.

Anonymous

Maybe they didn't save enough when they outlawed illegal farm workers but at least they had unharvested produce left rotting in the fields for all their trouble. Judge Moore has moved on to other things since defying the separation of church and state with his 2 ton monument and uneducated Alabamans are now worried about gay marriage. Plus, being under the leadership of one of those people no doubt gives them the vapors. They will act to bring the vote to righter, whiter hands.

All these things are an embarrassment to the fine folk of Alabama who believe in the ideals of people like Eisenhower who upheld the Constitution for voting rights. It is a disgrace in this day that people won't follow it without Federal oversight. Disgusting and lower than a rat.

Anonymous

Your racist views are well noted.

XaurreauX

Ideally, there should be a massive class action suit that will empty Alabama's state treasury before Confederate money loses even more value.

Bill Martin

Suzan, I know you feel an obligation to attack every change in laws in the Deep South State of Alabama, because you see our Prime motive force is to deny Black folks the right to vote.
Well, changes are being made in my area too, a primarily White district. We, too have financial and tranportation problems. But It's so easy to get the voter ID that those problems don't really come into play. You can get your ID almost anywhere...you can have a friend do it for you online. And it's free. Won't cost a single cent.
And despite what Mr Jackson tells you, no racial discrimination will be permitted.

Anonymous

Mr Martin, ONLY the form can be downloaded on line. The process cannot be done on line. Apparently you didn't even check out the website before you posted. Or perhaps you are not from Alabama at all. All documentation must be presented in person and the documentation can be onerous and expensive for people who don't just happen to have their birth certificates from 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 years ago. Check out the worldwide web before you write, and you won't be so misinformed.

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