Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Al Jazeera: Alabama’s DMV closures reinforce need to restore the Voting Rights Act

Oct 15, 2015
In The News

On Sept. 30, Alabama announced plans to shutter nearly half its driver’s license offices, citing budget constraints. The decision came a year after the state implemented a new ID requirement to vote, purportedly to protect against voter fraud.

At least half a million Alabamans, or 20 percent of the state’s registered voters, lack a driver’s license or alternative DMV-issued ID. As with the restrictive ID law, civil rights advocates say the closure of 31 DMV offices — disproportionately affecting poor, rural communities where black people make up a large share of the population — narrows access to IDs and, as a result, will disfranchise black voters. State officials insist that their decision was not race based. Irrespective of intent, the move will suppress black votes.

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