State of Alabama invited a woman who died in 1999 to register to vote
MOBILE, Ala. — The State of Alabama recently sent a letter to a Mobile woman who died in 1999, inviting her to register to vote in the upcoming November elections.
“You are receiving this mailing because our records indicate that you MIGHT not be registered to vote,” the mailer read, according to local Fox affiliate WALA.
“The notice included a mail-in voter registration form and instructions to return it to her local Board of Registrars,” wrote Fox 10 anchor Bob Grip.
The deceased woman’s daughter alerted the local news to the mailer because she was concerned other recipients may attempt to use the form to commit voter fraud.
Mr. Grip brought the issue to the attention of Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who said his office is engaging in a large scale voter registration drive that relies on the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Driver’s License database.
“My office is undertaking a project to identify a large number of Alabamians that are eligible but unregistered to vote,” Merrill explained. “This project utilizes our voter registration information and compares it against a database of Alabamians with a Driver’s License. This allows us to see anyone that would already had a license but may not have previously had the opportunity to register to vote. I apologize for any confusion that this may have caused for your viewer but if you would have them forward the name and address of the individual, we will make sure we identify her to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency so they can update their records.”
During the 2011 Regular Legislative Session Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) signed a voter ID law that went into full effect for the 2014 primary elections. Act 2011-673 requires an Alabama voter to have a specific type of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Since that time, Democrats across the country have decried the law as “racist” and “hateful”.
The 2016 Democratic Party platform declares, “we will continue to fight against discriminatory voter identification laws, which disproportionately burden young voters, diverse communities, people of color, low income families, people with disabilities, the elderly, and women.”
In an October 2015 visit to Hoover, Hillary Clinton slammed Alabama Republicans for requiring proof of citizenship to vote and for shuttering driver’s license offices in the wake of state budget cuts. The Democratic presidential nominee insisted that both issues were examples of Republicans trying to return Alabama to its Jim Crow past.
“We have to defend the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote,” she said. “No one in this state, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”
Before that, Vice President Joe Biden chided supporters of voter ID laws in light of liberal defeat in the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder which stemmed from a legal challenge in Alabama. “These guys never go away,” Biden said. “Hatred never, never goes away. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason.”
Shelby County, Ala. sued the U.S. Attorney General in 2011 claiming that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that the formula used to determine which areas were subjected to pre-clearance was unconstitutional, effectively gutting that portion of the law.
“Alabama has made tremendous progress over the past 50 years, and this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that progress,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said at the time. “We will not tolerate discrimination in Alabama.”
Despite calls of racism, Alabama’s implementation of the voter ID law does not seem to have suppressed turnout.
There are currently at least 10 different types of ID that are acceptable to use at the polls (including a driver’s license) and the Secretary of State’s office also offers free Alabama photo voter ID cards and free non-driver IDs for purposes of voting.
(h/t Fox 10)