Investigate Alabama voter suppression
Department of Justice
Since my last update a month and a half ago, I have some great news to report. Together we've now sent over 134,000 messages in to the Justice Department, and our pressure worked!
Alabama Governor Bentley had partially reversed himself back in October and announced that the closed offices will be open 1 day a month going forward.
And on Wednesday, federal transportation officials announced that they will investigate whether Alabama violated civil rights laws by cutting back on motor vehicle services in predominantly black counties.
"Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation is making it clear that Title VI [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] is not optional and that we will work to make sure all of its components are enforced," according to the statement from U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
What does this mean? If Alabama was found to be discriminatory in the drivers license office closures, the first option would be to voluntarily comply with any changes DOT proposed. If Alabama doesn't comply voluntarily, DOT could suspend federal money going to the state, which could cost Alabama "millions of dollars".
Alabama just closed 31 drivers license bureaus in counties with the highest percentage of non-white voters. Every county with over 75% of registered voters that are African-American will have their DMV office closed.
Alabama requires voters to have photo ID to vote, so this will disenfranchise the voters in those counties. The Justice Department can put a stop to this, they are the best hope for upholding the rights of all Alabama voters.
Alabama Governor Bentley is considering a plan to open the 31 drivers license bureaus back up, but nothing is decided yet. Please keep the pressure on.
The Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund have asked the DOJ to investigate, as has Rep. Terri Sewell (who represents the Selma area of Alabama). "Dena Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, confirmed that the department had received Sewell’s letter, declining to comment further." Please keep contacting the DOJ.
Department of Justice
From: [Your Name]
Alabama just closed 31 drivers license bureaus in minority areas, including all bureaus in the 8 counties where 75% are African-American. Because Alabama requires voters to have photo ID in order to vote, this is a civil rights violation. Please investigate and put a stop to the voter suppression.