Alabama requires a photo ID to vote.
This week Alabama decided to announce that it would stop issuing driver's licenses in certain counties because of budget cuts. Those counties happen to contain the highest percentage of nonwhite voters, an AL.com columnist has pointed out.
According to the report, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced (pdf) Wednesday that 31 satellite state Motor Vehicle Division offices would no longer have access to driver's license examiners as a result of the cuts, meaning that residents will have to travel to other counties in order to take care of their licensing needs.
AL.com's John Archibald was quick to notice that this new change, coming one year after the voter photo-ID law took effect, does not appear to be a coincidence. He is calling for the Department of Justice to open an investigation, the site notes.
"Because Alabama just took a giant step backward," he wrote. "Take a look at the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters. That's Macon, Greene, Sumter, Lowndes, Bullock, Perry, Wilcox, Dallas, Hale, and Montgomery, according to the Alabama Secretary of State's office. Alabama, thanks to its budgetary insanity and inanity, just opted to close driver license bureaus in eight of them.
"Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one," Archibald added. "But maybe it's not racial at all, right? Maybe it's just political. And let's face it, it may not be either. But no matter the intent, the consequence is the same."
Archibald called the move "not just a civil rights violation" or a "public relations nightmare."
"It is an affront to the very notion of justice in a nation where one man one vote is as precious as oxygen," he wrote. "It is a slap in the face to all who believe the stuff we teach the kids about how all are created equal."
Read more at AL.com.