Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Montgomery Advertiser Editorial: License office closings shameful barrier to voting

Oct 6, 2015
In The News

Can anyone seriously believe that the closing of so many driver license offices in so many predominantly black Alabama counties, with all the implications for voting in a state with a harsh voter ID law, would have happened before the Voting Rights Act was gutted two years ago? The preclearance provisions of the law that were removed in the infamous Shelby County v. Holder case would have kept such a move confined to the ever-active minds of those looking to suppress participation in the electoral process.

Now, under the guise of budget cuts, Alabama proposes to make it far more difficult for citizens to obtain driver licenses, which they not only need to lawfully operate a vehicle, but which also are the most commonly used forms of identification for meeting the requirements of the state’s voter ID law. The impact is glaringly disproportionate; every county in which the population of registered voters is 75 percent or more African-American will see the driver license office close.

Therein lies another argument – as if one were needed -- for restoring those provisions, appropriately modified to reflect modern-day reality and the demonstrated progress made since the act was passed in 1965.

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