Selma Times-Journal: Sewell asks DOJ to investigate driver’s license office closings
Congresswoman Terri Sewell has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the closing of 31 driver’s licenses offices.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Sewell said the closures disproportionately impacts residents in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District.
“This ill-conceived decision left eight out of the 14 counties in my district, which is the only majority minority district in the state, without a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue an Alabama’s driver’s license,” Sewell said.
Across, Alabama’s historic Black Belt only the offices in Dallas and Montgomery counties remain open.
“The real issue here is about access. Closing these licenses offices will severely limit access to the most popular form of photo identification used in voting — a state issued driver’s license,” Sewell said.
Sewell said it was “disappointing and unconscionable” that Alabama, which enacted some of the nation’s toughest voting ID laws in 2011, would limit options available to meet these requirements.
“Closing 31 driver’s license offices across the state only heightens the disparities in voting between low-income and higher-income communities … These closures will potentially disenfranchise Alabama’s poor, elderly and black communities.”
Sewell asks the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Engagement to join her at town hall meetings in affected communities.”
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said last week that all 67 counties in Alabama have a board of registrars that are able to issue voter ID cards.
Attempts to reach the Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs for comment were unsuccessful Monday afternoon.