Alabama Representative Terri Sewell, has asked the Department of Justice for a “full and thorough investigation” into the closure of 31 driver’s license offices across the state.
State officials have denied that the DMV closures will make it harder for Alabamans to vote, pointing to the free state-issued photo IDs residents can obtain from county officials, a mobile unit that travels the state or the state capitol.
Also, Gov. Bentley and the ALEA respond to controversial allegations made by Congresswoman, Terri Sewell and others that the closing of several DMV satellite offices was an attempt to restrict voter registration for minorities.
“After ensuring all counties provided government-issued identification at no expense to the voter, we allocated our resources to the most prudent services”.
“Alabama passed a bill requiring for the first time a photo ID for voting, hitting African-Americans, the poor, the young and the old disproportionately”, wrote Jackson in an op-ed published by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Bentley said he respects Sewell, but that she is misinformed.
State agencies last week announced the closure of state parks, license offices and National Guard Armories because of funding reductions in the fiscal year that began October. 1. County workers handle renewals.
Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said that the state was only staffing one driver’s license examiner once a week in the Greensboro office and he just can’t see how that was costing too much. They can have their license renewed at a probate judge’s office.
The Greenville location issued 261 permits and 187 licenses and gave 620 exams in 2014.
“By closing these offices, the State will drastically reduce the number of sites where potential voters can obtain photo ID, creating a substantial and disproportionate burden on Black people’s ability to participate in the political process in Alabama”, the letter said. We’re not going to ever do anything to keep people in the State of Alabama from voting.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson will appear at news conferences Wednesday with members of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus.