Judge Throws Out Challenge To Alabama Voter ID Law

NPR,  January 11, 2018

Greater Birmingham Ministries, the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, and several minority voters had sued Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill over the law passed in 2011 that requires absentee and in-person voters to show photo identification to cast a ballot. The plaintiffs said the requirement put an undue burden on minorities in part because the state had curtailed driver's license operations in several majority black counties. ...

[Alabama Secretary of State John] Merrill maintained the case should be thrown out, arguing the law provided for a wide range of acceptable IDs and procedures for voters to obtain a valid photo voter identification card, including waiving fees for nondriver IDs. Additionally, the state has a mobile ID unit that provides free voter ID cards for people who lack transportation to other state offices to obtain one. ...

[Judge] Coogler found that "even though Black and Latino registered voters are almost twice as likely as white voters to lack an acceptable photo ID, no one is prevented from voting." ...

Scott Douglas, executive director of Greater Birmingham Ministries said his group is deeply disappointed and expects an appeal. "We certainly believe we plaintiffs presented a strong case considering that over 100,000 people lacked photo ID, and still face significant burdens in obtaining it," he said.

By Debbie Elliott

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