If you want to vote in the state of Alabama, you have to prove your identity with a photo ID card, usually a driver’s license or state-issued ID card which you can only get at certain locations.
But now the state says it will no longer issue driver’s licenses in counties where 75 percent of the registered voters are black.
Blaming budget cuts, Alabama’s Law Enforcement Agency decreed that 31 satellite DMV offices would no longer have access to driver’s licenses examiners, which means that residents will now have to travel to other counties just to apply for a license. It should be noted that this move comes just one year after the state’s voter photo ID law went into effect.
The news of these cutbacks is being criticized by many residents of Alabama. AL.com’s John Archibald wrote in a column that the U.S. Department of Justice should immediately open an investigation into the closings:
“Alabama just took a giant step backward. Take a look at the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters. That’s Macon, Greene, Sumter, Lowndes, Bullock, Perry, Wilcox, Dallas, Hale, and Montgomery, according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. Alabama, thanks to its budgetary insanity and inanity, just opted to close driver license bureaus in eight of them.”
Archibald also accused the state of perhaps engaging in what can only be called racism:
“Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one. But maybe it’s not racial at all, right? Maybe it’s just political. And let’s face it, it may not be either… But no matter the intent, the consequence is the same.”
Whether it’s racial, political, or a bit of both, Archibald thinks it’s a huge black eye for Alabama:
“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. So roll out the welcome wagon to the Justice Department, and tell the world what it already so desperately wants to hear. That Alabama is exactly what they always thought she was. That Alabama refuses to pay for its own government, and used it as an excuse to keep black people from the polls. That Alabama hasn’t changed a bit.”
If the Department of Justice does not get involved in this matter, then it leads one to wonder what the purpose of an agency with such a name is.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.