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