It was one year ago when the US Supreme Court struck down a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That section required federal approval for voting changes in states with a history of racial discrimination, mostly in the south. And after the Supreme Court acted, many of those states rushed to enact laws requiring photo identification to vote, including here in Alabama. The state reported few problems during this month’s primary election. Critics of voter photo ID say they’re waiting for the November election when more voters show up at the polls.
Alabama officials say implementation is going smoothly with a new law requiring voters to show a photo ID to vote.
Alabama's chief of election official, Secretary of State Jim Bennett, says he's had no reports of problems. Bennett says his office spent about $900,000 to educate voters about the new law and to provide photo IDs to more than 2,300 people who didn't have one.
Secretary of State Jim Bennett's plan for implementing Alabama's photo ID requirement for voting includes making free ID cards available through mobile vans, county board of registrars' offices, and the state Department of Senior Services.
The secretary of state's plan for implementing Alabama's photo ID requirement for voting includes making free ID cards available through mobile vans, county board of registrars' offices, and the state Department of Senior Services.
Secretary of State Jim Bennett issued his final rules Tuesday for implementing the law for the 2014 elections.
The law requires voters to show a photo ID, such as a driver's license, passport or student ID from a university. For those lacking photo IDs, Alabama plans to provide free photo IDs for voting at many locations.
Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman says her office has a plan that will allow any eligible voter to receive free photo identification.
She said voters will be able to get the identification even if they can't afford to pay. Chapman said voters can fill out a form to receive a free photo ID. She said her office wants to develop a system where voters can receive the photo identification at the county courthouse.
Alabama officials say voters apparently will have to present identification at the polls in the next election.
Officials including Gov. Robert Bentley, Secretary of State Beth Chapman and Attorney General Luther Strange said the Supreme Court's ruling Tuesday throwing out part of the federal Voting Rights Act means the state does not have to submit for preclearance a new law requiring voters to have photo identification.
Strange said the voter identification law will be implemented immediately.