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Ian McColgin
10-01-2015, 02:25 PM
[IMc - I don't see any way to take a "neutral" approach to this story. The blatant racism and effort to maintain white electoral control is obvious. There's no excuse for this and even less excuse for any delay in federal action.]

Alabama sends message: We are too broke to care about right and wrong

By John Archibald | jarchibald@al.com

September 30, 2015

Alabama might as well just send an invitation to the Justice Department. Come on in guys. Come on down.

No need to reply with an RSVP. Because we know you'll be here. How could you resist?

Because Alabama just took a giant step backward.

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. All but Dallas and Montgomery will be closed.

Closed. In a state in which driver licenses or special photo IDs are a requirement for voting.

It's not just a civil rights violation. It is not just a public relations nightmare. It is not just an invitation for worldwide scorn and an alarm bell to the Justice Department. It is an affront to the very notion of justice in a nation where one man one vote is as precious as oxygen. It is a slap in the face to all who believe the stuff we teach the kids about how all are created equal.

[See Kyle Whitmire's take]

Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one.


Gov. Robert Bentley, left to right, Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., and Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter of former Gov. George Wallace, in a commemoration of the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery (Julie Bennett/ jbennett@al.com)

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.

Look at the 15 counties that voted for President Barack Obama in the last presidential election. The state just decided to close driver license offices in 53 percent of them.

Look at the five counties that voted most solidly Democratic? Macon, Greene, Sumter, Lowndes and Bullock counties all had their driver license offices closed.

Look at the 10 that voted most solidly for Obama? Of those, eight again all but Dallas and the state capital of Montgomery had their offices closed.

Closed.

Because the same Alabama Legislature that could not raise enough money to properly run the state in three sessions this year decided in 2011 that all voters must have a photo ID. It was such a great idea that Gov. Robert Bentley signed that bill into law despite complaints that such a move would disproportionately disenfranchise black voters.

It went into effect last year. And now this.

This. And true enough, department heads have to make terribly difficult decisions.

So Alabama closes 31 driver license offices. And while the cuts come across Alabama, they are deepest in the Black Belt. The harm is inflicted disproportionately on voters who happen to be black, and poor, in sparsely populated areas.

So roll out the welcome wagon to the Justice Department, and tell the world what it already so desperately wants to hear.

That Alabama is exactly what they always thought she was.

That Alabama refuses to pay for its own government, and used it as an excuse to keep black people from the polls. That Alabama hasn't changed a bit.

I'd say they have us all wrong. I'd love to say they have us all wrong.

But the numbers say they don't.

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/09/alabama_sends_message_we_are_t.html

# # #

BrianW
10-01-2015, 02:34 PM
Seems their cutting more than just those counties...


The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said budget cuts will result in closing driver’s license offices across the state. The agency said the cut will be in phases, with 33 offices closed during the first wave. In January 2016, a further 12 offices will close. By March, all but four offices in the entire state will shut their doors. The offices that will remain open, ALEA said, are Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile, and Birmingham. “Unfortunately, what citizens can expect are longer lines, oftentimes scheduling way in advance to get an opportunity,” said ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier. “Probably the worst is that some… are going to have to travel a significant distance to be able to get that driver’s license service.”

Alabama must be having some serious budget issues.

xflow7
10-01-2015, 02:45 PM
“Probably the worst is that some… are going to have to travel a significant distance to be able to get that driver’s license service.”


Which, if the state requires such ID for voting, amounts to a poll tax - no matter whether or not the actual intent is to disenfranchise.

Paul Pless
10-01-2015, 02:48 PM
Alabama must be having some serious budget issues.time to lower taxes again

BrianW
10-01-2015, 03:18 PM
time to lower taxes again

Racist. :D

WX
10-01-2015, 03:40 PM
Maybe these citizens are just exercising their god given and constitutional right of non conformity and non status quo requirements to satisfy societal false front requirements.

What?

WX
10-01-2015, 04:45 PM
They don't give a damm about voting..

How do you know?

oznabrag
10-01-2015, 09:00 PM
They don't give a damm about voting..


Racist...

,,,

BrianW
10-01-2015, 09:16 PM
But seriously, if your closing 45 out of 49 offices (a fact not disclosed in Ian's quote from the article) it becomes pretty easy to make the claim in the OP. I'm thinking it's a bunch of malarkey.

The real story is why is Alabama closing so many DMV offices which will affect many people, of all colors?

Ian McColgin
10-01-2015, 09:25 PM
BrianW is correct that the C&P in the OP listed the first wave of cuts, with more pointed out by BrianW in #2 and again at #11.

ccmanuals
10-01-2015, 09:35 PM
BrianW is correct that the C&P in the OP listed the first wave of cuts, with more pointed out by BrianW in #2 and again at #11.

But the first wave happens before the 2016 elections. After the election I wonder if they will then modify their plan to close the remaining ones?

Ian McColgin
10-01-2015, 09:41 PM
Right, Tom. A point lost on some.

Which is not to say that if the whole plan carries forward it will be a frightful mess for almost all citizens.

xflow7
10-02-2015, 06:11 AM
But seriously, if your closing 45 out of 49 offices (a fact not disclosed in Ian's quote from the article) it becomes pretty easy to make the claim in the OP. I'm thinking it's a bunch of malarkey.

The real story is why is Alabama closing so many DMV offices which will affect many people, of all colors?

One can argue that takes away any argument about intent. But it still makes the voter ID law untenable under constitutional voting requirements (if it wasn't already) by making it too onerous for people to vote.

Tom Hunter
10-02-2015, 06:29 AM
It would not surprise me if the person picking the first places to close picked places with larger numbers of democrats, but I don't think you can prove racism here. I think its more about incompetence. The original voter ID law, that is racism.

Over all, this is Alabama digging itself into a hole. They are going to lose jobs, and its going to be a lot harder to be a legal driver, and in exchange they get to avoid a tax increase. It's possible to tax your way into poverty, but its also possible to cut taxes until you're in poverty. They don't seem to understand this.

Paul Pless
10-02-2015, 06:34 AM
It's possible to tax your way into poverty, but its also possible to cut taxes until you're in poverty. They don't seem to understand this.It has ever been thus in Alabama, which has a highly regressive tax structure, land and property is taxed at extremely low rates, income is also taxed at low rate; Alabama has a very high sales tax at the state, county, and municipal level which they apply to all purchases including food and medicine.

WszystekPoTrochu
10-02-2015, 07:21 AM
Why would it be called racist and not political? Why race percentage is put before voting choices? Why is it racism and not gerrymandering plus?
No, really - why?

Oh, and how long is a licence valid?

Paul Pless
10-02-2015, 07:22 AM
A license is valid for four years. A non driving official state identification card, which is obtained through driver's license offices does not expire.

Breakaway
10-02-2015, 07:22 AM
In the age we live in it is more and more common not to have to go to a place to conduct business. This hardly requires substantiation, but everything from a college degree to a mortgage can be obtained via the Internet. Furthermore both private and public enterprises have been shrinking workforces and continue to do so.

It seems a stretch, in that context, to call these closures a disenfranchisement play.

Kevin

Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner

Norman Bernstein
10-02-2015, 07:41 AM
It has ever been thus in Alabama, which has a highly regressive tax structure, land and property is taxed at extremely low rates, income is also taxed at low rate; Alabama has a very high sales tax at the state, county, and municipal level which they apply to all purchases including food and medicine.


...which is another good reason why my sister will be moving from Alabama to Massachusetts by December. I'm glad MA has a false reputation as 'Taxachusetts', because 1) it's actually NOT true, and 2) it keeps the riff-raff away.

xflow7
10-02-2015, 07:45 AM
In the age we live in it is more and more common not to have to go to a place to conduct business. This hardly requires substantiation, but everything from a college degree to a mortgage can be obtained via the Internet. Furthermore both private and public enterprises have been shrinking workforces and continue to do so.


...with the one glaring exception being obtaining a government-issued photo ID. So unless and until Alabama provides an alternative convenient means for people to obtain the ID that their state law requires to vote, there is clear disenfranchisement here; regardless of whether race enters into it or not.

Dave

Dan McCosh
10-02-2015, 08:00 AM
Sounds more like an attack on Democrats.

Jim Mahan
10-02-2015, 08:03 AM
Why would it be called racist and not political?
It isn't a question of one or the other. It's both. The politics is driven, allegedley, and apparently, by the racism. It is the racism that makes it onerous. If there were no race issue involved, if the entire population were the same race, it still appears to be a political ploy to disenfranchise, because whether it is intentional or not, the proposed changes will adversely affect voters disproportionally; the people who will experience undo difficulty in voting will be, generally, the same demographic—black, poor, elderly—and most likely to vote Democrat, while the proposed changes are being proposed by and supported by, in general, the opposite demographic, rich, white republican incumbents. If this were not the case, if there were no such political motivation for the changes that might affect the voting population and subsequent elections, honest government would make a point of ameliorating that effect, in order to be fair and above reproach.

WszystekPoTrochu
10-02-2015, 08:23 AM
...with the one glaring exception being obtaining a government-issued photo ID.
Dave

Not doing that personally would kind of counter the whole idea

Breakaway
10-02-2015, 08:31 AM
...with the one glaring exception being obtaining a government-issued photo ID. So unless and until Alabama provides an alternative convenient means for people to obtain the ID that their state law requires to vote, there is clear disenfranchisement here; regardless of whether race enters into it or not.

Dave

True that. But things are changing fast. For instance, in 2017 a drivers license/ state ID will no longer suffice for domestic air travel: one will need a passport. Perhaps we are headed into an era where the only official ID will be a federal one.Who knows?

In any case, all citizens are affected by such changes.

Kevin

Katherine
10-02-2015, 08:37 AM
And my MIL wonders why I don't wish to move there.

Norman Bernstein
10-02-2015, 08:37 AM
True that. But things are changing fast. For instance, in 2017 a drivers license/ state ID will no longer suffice for domestic air travel: one will need a passport.

From what I've been able to find out, this is NOT true.

There is a 'Real ID Act', but its effect is to simply impose certain requirements on the design of driver's licenses; after a certain date, driver's licenses will have to be compliant, to be valid for travel on federally regulated airlines.

As it happens, only four states are not yet in compliance... and they most likely will be, before it matters:

Louisiana
Minnesota+
New Hampshire**
New York+

http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-enforcement-brief

Canoez
10-02-2015, 09:06 AM
From what I've been able to find out, this is NOT true.

There is a 'Real ID Act', but its effect is to simply impose certain requirements on the design of driver's licenses; after a certain date, driver's licenses will have to be compliant, to be valid for travel on federally regulated airlines.

As it happens, only four states are not yet in compliance... and they most likely will be, before it matters:

Louisiana
Minnesota+
New Hampshire**
New York+

http://www.dhs.gov/real-id-enforcement-brief

Recently had an acquaintance go to NIH on business and couldn't even get on the campus because of her Minnesota ID.

xflow7
10-02-2015, 09:15 AM
Security at NIH is incredible. My wife and I go to a Scottish dancing group that takes place on the campus, and the level of ID and vehicle check they do is higher than what I went through to get on post at Ft. Bragg a few years ago for work.

slug
10-02-2015, 09:17 AM
Drivers liscense are the most common form of ID and very easy to fraudulently aquire. This is why they are tightening up.

the same is true for American passports. It is now not possible to renew a passport overseas at an embassy. All passports are now issued in the US. Renewal used to be same day...now its two weeks min.

its just the way it is. No use complaining.

States would be wise to enlist one of the credit card companies to issue the physical liscense card ...combo drivers liscene, digital money, ID...a saving for the taxpayer and much easier for law enforcement to track down the bad guys.

Canoez
10-02-2015, 09:20 AM
Security at NIH is incredible. My wife and I go to a Scottish dancing group that takes place on the campus, and the level of ID and vehicle check they do is higher than what I went through to get on post at Ft. Bragg a few years ago for work.

Yes it is. I go there with SWMBO occasionally. We had a bottle of wine in the car and were made to get rid of it for some reason. Not even allowed to let it stay in the car or at the security checkpoint.

Osborne Russell
10-02-2015, 12:34 PM
States are required by the Constitution to provide a republican form of government.

Small r, dummies.