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Alabama’s DMV Shutdown Has Everything to Do With Race


Alabama’s DMV Shutdown Has Everything to Do With Race

Susan Watson

Don’t believe a word of it: It’s all about race.

Despite state officials’ quick denial that the closing of 31 Alabama DMVs has nothing to do with race, it is a fact that the closures – mostly in poor, majority black counties – disproportionately hurts Black voters. Period.


Sweet home Alabama
Where the voters ain't so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Jim Crow's comin' back to you


In Birmingham they love the guv'nor.


I don't understand how this many people can get by in this society without some form of ID anyway, this particular issue aside; how do you cash a check, buy cigarettes or alcohol, or perform any other transaction that requires some proof of identity or age?


Following right wing playbooks, you are turning the matter around into blaming or chastising those who don't have I.D.'s rather than recognizing the fundamental racism of this new ruling.


The strategy to break this is simple, find someone without a licence and spend a few afternoons teaching him or her to drive... Then take them to the richest, whitest white cracker DMV office and let white people wait for a turn. Heck take vans full of people to take the test. Knowing Alabama somehow the funds will be found.


"There's the rub!"

This is a departure from the way things were before. The new scenario:

:black_small_square: Require new card to vote.

:black_small_square:Make new card hard to get for _______.

:black_small_square:(Fill in the blank.)


Ask which political party benefits from doing this and you will understand "why" it was done.

  1. Voter Suppression

Paul Weyrich, an ALEC co-founder and influential operative considered to be the “founding father of the conservative movement” famously laid out the GOP’s voter suppression strategy in a 1980 speech in Dallas:

“I don’t want everybody to vote”, he said. “Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

Since 2013, after the Supreme Court’s decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, states all over the nation have been passing measures that make it increasingly hard for Americans – especially the powerless African-Americans, the elderly, the young and individuals with handicaps – to practice their principal right to cast a vote. The 1965 law required that lawmakers in states with a history of discriminating against minority voters get federal permission before changing voting rules.

In Shelby County v. Holder, in which Chief Justice John Roberts argued that Section 4 was unnecessary because “things have changed dramatically” in the South since 1965, invalidating Section 4 — which determines the states and localities covered by arguing that a new coverage formula is needed that determines which jurisdictions are subjected to pre-clearance based on their histories of discrimination in voting.

After the Shelby County decision, Alabama’s strict voter ID law, passed by the GOP legislature in 2011, was allowed to go into effect without federal approval. This is the very type of voting change–one that disproportionately burdens African-American voters–that would have been challenged under Section 5 of the VRA, which the Supreme Court rendered inoperative. And in 2015 Alabama is making it much tougher to obtain the government-issued ID required to vote by closing 31 DMV locations in the state, many in majority-black counties.

Al.com columnist John Archibald reported that eight of the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of black registered voters saw their driver’s license offices closed. “Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed,” Archibald wrote, “Every one.” First the state demands that you get a photo ID, and then it makes it harder to do so, particularly in areas heavily populated by African-Americans.

Even past the Deep South, Republican controlled lawmaking bodies around the nation are utilizing the fake non-issue of “voter fraud,” which is basically non-existent, as a reason to make it harder for voters, especially ethnic minorities, the elderly, students and poor people, from enrolling to vote or voting. These new measures incorporate requiring an official personal ID to vote and proof of citizenship to register, curtailing early voting, purging voter rolls, wiping out election day registration, eliminating Sunday voting, new restrictions on voter enrollment drives, extra barriers to voting directed against individuals with criminal convictions and shutting down voting sites and more.

It is about time to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (H.R.2867 – 114th Congress (2015-2016)), with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska becoming the first Republican to cosponsor the bill. The bill requires states with well-documented history of recent voting bias to clear future voting changes with the central government, requires federal approval for voter ID laws, and outlaws new GOP-led efforts to suppress the growing poor and minority votes.

Automatic voter registration

Additionally, citing a new automatic voter registration law enacted in Oregon in 2015 to register eligible citizens who have driver’s licenses, as long as they don’t opt out, Rep. David Cicilline [D-RI-1] and 45 cosponsors introduced Automatic Voter Registration Act (H.R.2694 -114th Congress (2015-2016))for federal elections at all DMVs.

Read more:https://progressivewishlist.wordpress.com/


I don't know. The interplay between political party considerations and racial ones is not straightforward.


Welcome to the New South, same as the Old South.


In Wisconsin, the great majority of those who lose their right to vote by such measure as the ID mandate are the poor, and especially the rural poor, who are overwhelmingly white. They often don't have access to a DMV. Unlike those who live in cities, they can't get on a city bus to get to the nearest DMV, and the nearest DMV can be 20-30 miles away.

I do get it. Black people don't know that white poverty exists, and white people pretend it doesn't, neither of which changes reality. The fact that you're oblivious to actual white poverty shows that you don't fully understand this issue. Not everything is about race. America itself is about money/class status. I'd suggest expanding your understanding of the broad US public a little more.


Disagree, and I'll explain why.Those who are the least likely to have drivers' licenses or access to a DMV (to get the mandated ID) are the poor. Before Clinton, Democrats were the "lesser of the evils" for the poor. That's obviously no longer true. During the years of this administration, the poor -- and those who get why unrelieved poverty is such a critical issue -- have only been more deeply alienated by Democrats and liberals. Democrats have maintained their "war on the poor." This year alone, they agreed to virtually end food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled. Most who would lose their right to vote by current voter suppression measures wouldn't be voting for Democrats in 2016 regardless.


Oddly, whites receiving food stamps (poor whites) are more likely to vote Democratic than Republican. Getting rid of DMVs in rural areas will make it more difficult for those who vote for Dems, not Republicans, to get IDs.


I was moved by this article until I read the author is a member of the ACLU which has become a sewer of ideology instead of the non-partisan agency in pursuit of justice it once was. I'll, therefore, have to do my own research on this one before I believe what has been stated as fact.