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

That. Is. Completely FUCKED UP. DAMN.

Michael Wilson

Disgrace

Anonymous

Why aren't the information sources for this article listed? Does anyone reading this actually live in Alabama and personally know that these DMV's were closed? Anyone can claim anything online. Additionally, even if some DMV's were closed, due to inadequate funding, of course the DMV's in low-income areas would be the ones chosen. DMV's in more prosperous areas will see more business, therefore more income, so it makes more sense to keep them open. This article seems to be grasping at straws to create a racist issue where there is not one. Are stores racist if they prefer to be located in more prosperous areas? Of course not! Go where the money is. This is common sense at work. Not racism.

Anonymous

I believe it was reported in several publicly-available newspaper in general circulation.

Anonymous

I don't support voter ID laws. However, in Alabama you can get a free government-issued photo ID at your local Board of Registrars (alabamavoterid.com/permanentLocations.aspx )
The photo IDs obtained at Alabama DMV's are driver's licenses and non-driver photo IDs, both of which cost money. (dps.alabama.gov/Home/wfContent.aspx?ID=30&PLH1=plhDriverLicense-DocumentRequirementsAndFees)
No matter what you think of voter ID laws, the closure of DMV's in Alabama didn't make the situation worse as this article insinuates. You can still get a free voter photo ID in every county in Alabama.

martinsmith13

Thanks a lot for sharing the blog . This is very important information related to people of Alabama . Alabama civil rights has great history .

Anonymous

This is just absurd. If they want an ID, they can get one.

Bobby Thomas

Racism is alive and well Americanized, and it will never cease to be! North Charleston, South Carolina

David James

So, since we want to ensure that only citizens can vote, we're racist? Confused. So people don't keep their birth certificates and SS cards and personal info in their own personal possession? How is that everyone else's problem? If you want to vote, follow the rules. And as a member of the party that fought FOR the rights of minorities to vote instead of fighting against it like the Dems, this is annoying rather than heart-wrenching...

Anonymous

Although there is no evidence as per this article that this is a direct result of race, seeing how the GoP react towards minorities and what they did to voting in NC, yeah it's about race. The GoP are scared little boys worried they're a dying breed, hate women, hate immigrants, hate gays, they're just an unpleasant bunch.

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