Friday, October 2, 2015

Bitter Home Alabama, Con't

I've talked before about Alabama pulling the one-two punch of requiring a driver's license in order to vote in 2016 and then closing down 90% of county driver's license offices to "save taxpayer money". If there was still any reasonable doubt as to this being a massive disenfranchisement of thousands of black voters by Republicans, it has been obliterated by the first round of driver's license office closings, nearly all coming in majority black counties. Kyle Whitmire of

In 2011, Alabama lawmakers approved the state's voter ID law, making it illegal to vote in Alabama without a government-issued photo ID. 
For most folks, that's a driver's license. 
In those 29 counties you might be able to register at the courthouse, but you won't be able to cast a ballot there unless you have that ID. 
That's not just an inconvenience. That's a problem. 
But it gets worse. 
Look at the list of counties now where you can't get a driver's license. There's Choctaw, Sumter, Hale, Greene, Perry, Wilcox, Lowndes, Butler, Crenshaw, Macon, Bullock ...
If you had to memorize all the Alabama Counties in 9th grade, like I did -- and even if you forgot most of them, like I have -- you can probably guess where we're going with this. 
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. 
Combine that with the federally mandated Star ID taking effect next year, and we're looking at a nightmare.

Or a trial lawyer's dream.

There are eight counties in Alabama where at least 75% of the population is black.  Every one of those counties is losing its drivers license office.  This is such a blatantly obvious attempt at voter suppression that civil rights lawsuits will be filed by the truckload, and I don't see how the state can defend its actions...but if the courts somehow decide this is constitutional (and with this SCOTUS it all depends on whether or not Justice Kennedy wants to see America's dark past)  expect a whole lot of driver's license office closures in a lot of red states.

We'll see where this goes, but I remind you that at least for now, Alabama Republicans are definitely getting away with this at the moment.  And I'm not sure if that will ever be changed.

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