While I strongly support the increased funding for our military, I could not in good conscience vote for the Omnibus that costs almost $1.3 trillion. The military threats to our national security are real and serious, but so is the fiscal threat to our national security.
— Gary Palmer (@USRepGaryPalmer) March 22, 2018
Democrats call Alabama’s voter ID law ‘racist’ but require DNC delegates to show ID to vote
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — In a twist of irony, the Democratic National Convention is requiring delegates to show photo ID to receive their official credentials. While the Democrats require an ID to get into their convention, they have consistently fought against voter ID laws requiring citizens to show one when they vote.
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.” Yet, at their own convention, it seems like a different set of rules apply.
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.
Bernie Sanders: Alabama Republicans are ‘cowards’ for implementing voter ID requirement
Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is running in the Democratic primary, declared via twitter Sunday that Republicans in Alabama are “cowards” for “suppressing” the votes of low income people, minorities, young people and seniors. This comes in response to the recent closure of 31 satellite Drivers’ License offices across Alabama. Sanders joins fellow Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in criticizing Republican leadership in Alabama and the GOP support for ID laws Clinton says makes voting harder for people of color and young people, two groups critical to her chances of winning the presidency, according to The Washington Post.
Anyone 18 years of age or older should be automatically registered to vote. pic.twitter.com/NLuDSMdKBG
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 19, 2015
The closures have been met with criticism by the national media, Democrats, and voting rights advocates all across the country. On Friday, Bentley partially reversed the decision, saying that the offices would open in the affected areas once a month.
“To suggest the closure of the driver’s license offices is a racial issue is simply not true, and to suggest otherwise should be considered an effort to promote a political agenda,” said Bentley.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who is responsible for administering and overseeing elections, says there will still be multiple opportunities for people in every county to obtain an I.D. valid at the polling booth.
“The closure of 31 DMV offices will not leave citizens without a place to receive the required I.D. card to vote,” said Secretary Merrill. “All 67 counties in Alabama have a Board of Registrars that issue photo voter I.D. cards. If for some reason those citizens are not able to make it to the Board of Registrars, we’ll bring our mobile I.D. van and crew to that county. By October 31 our office will have brought the mobile I.D. van to every county in Alabama at least once.
Alabama’s new voter-ID law for both in-person and absentee voting went into effect last year and until now, hasn’t received negative feedback. Alabama has a total of 44 driver’s-license offices throughout the state. It also has 31 satellite offices that were open only part-time and that accounted for less than 5 percent of the driver’s licenses issued each year. Because of the budget passed by the state legislature, Alabama’s state government had to do away with limited resources. So the state government decided to close these satellite offices.
What all of the media and critics missed or deliberately ignored is that, in addition to being able to use a driver’s license to meet the voter-ID requirement, you can get a free voter ID in every single county in the state. In addition to DMV offices, the secretary of state offers free voter IDs in all 67 counties through the local election registrar.
“One of the most fundamental rights we as Americans are afforded is our right to vote,” says Secretary Merrill. “As Alabama’s Secretary of State and Chief Elections Official, I will do everything within my power to ensure every Alabamian is able to exercise their right to vote.”
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— John James (@john_james_20) August 19, 2015