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