U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell urges Alabamians to prepare for Voter Photo ID law
Birmingham, AL—Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell today urged her constituents and all Alabamians to make sure they’re ready for the implementation of Alabama’s new voter photo ID law, effective in the June 3 primary. Sewell fears the law will roll back the clock on voting rights that were won as a result of battles fought in Alabama’s 7th District decades ago and will ultimately serve as a form of voter suppression if people aren’t made aware of the law and helped through the process of obtaining a photo ID.
House Bill 19, signed by Gov. Robert Bentley into law after the 2011 Regular Legislative Session, requires Alabama voters to have a specific type of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. If a voter doesn’t have one of the approved forms of photo ID cited in the law, then he or she may receive a free Alabama photo voter ID from various locations statewide, including the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office, local county board of registrars’ offices, and at mobile locations set up by the Secretary of State.
Approved Forms of ID include: Alabama Driver’s License, Government Agency ID, Passport, Student/Employee ID from a school, Military ID, Tribal ID, Alabama Non-Driver ID, Voter ID Card. To be valid, these IDs must include a picture of the individual.
Sewell said that the law is discriminatory towards elderly or disabled voters who often don’t have a driver’s license or other form of photo ID, as well as many low-income and unemployed citizens who may not have a driver’s license or photo ID because they don’t own a vehicle or have a stable job. She cited the personal story of her father, who has voted with his Social Security card for years.
“Dad suffered several strokes and has been wheelchair bound for a number of years,” Sewell said. “He hasn’t had a driver’s license or other photo ID, and hasn’t needed one. For many years, he has voted with his validly issued social security card, and I believe that should be more than sufficient. While my dad has my mom and I to take him to the courthouse and make sure he gets the proper ID to vote, many are not as fortunate and will be disenfranchised as a result. This is simply unacceptable.”
Alabama State Sen. Hank Sanders, in an open letter he sent last month to Sewell and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, mentioned voter photo ID as one of the reasons he wants changes to the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 under consideration in Congress. Sanders’ letter compared voter photo ID to the old literacy tests used 75 years ago to exclude blacks and other literate citizens from voting.
“Voter photo ID falls in the same category of literacy tests, and the results will be the same,” Sanders wrote to the Congressional Black Caucus. “By the time local officials implement these voter photo ID laws, they will be something far worse than they appear on their face.”
Sewell, seeking a third term representing District 7, said Sanders has valid points. She feels that the Voter Photo ID law will prevent some people from voting who have voted in years past.
With the June 3 primary election less than two months away, Sewell is urging Alabamians to take advantage of the mobile site visits Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett set up for the production of free photo voter ID cards. A list of cities across Alabama where voters can get photo voter ID cards during the mobile site visits is posted at www.alabamavoterid.com. For more information on how to receive a free voter ID, voters can also call 1-800-274-VOTE (8663).
In order to obtain a free photo voter ID, individuals will need to bring:
· Any expired form of government issued photo ID (Driver’s License, Non-Driver ID)
· ONE non-photo document that contain legal name, date of birth, and current address. Examples: Marriage certificate w/ DOB, insurance showing voting address and DOB.
· Any Combination or collection of documentation (governmental or otherwise) hat has your name, date of birth, and current voting address. Examples: Birth certificate, final adoption decree, school documents, religious records, naturalization papers, utility bill in YOUR name, any other bill or government document sent to current mailing address
“It is our responsibility to make sure we are ready for the implementation of this law by June 3,” Sewell said. “We cannot sit idly by and watch our friends and neighbors be robbed of the right to vote. We must spread awareness about the law, and help to make sure that our family and friends get the proper ID they need to vote.”
Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell urged constituents who need a Voter Photo ID to sign up at one of these mobile sites visits being hosted by the Secretary of State. The following mobile site visits are scheduled for Sewell’s District 7:
- --Wednesday, April 17 – Pickens County, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Aliceville City Hall, 419 Memorial Parkway, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Ethelsville Community Center, County Road 30.
· --Thursday, April 17 – Tuscaloosa County, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Vance Civic Center, 18336 Highway 11 North
· --Friday, April 25 – Greene County, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Eutaw, National Guard Building, 809 Mesoptamia St.
· --Saturday, April 26 – Sumter County, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., York, Hightower Memorial Library, 630 Avenue A
· --Monday, April 28 – Hale County, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Moundville City Hall Council Room, 410 Market Street
· --Tuesday, April 29 – Marengo County, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Myrtlewood Community Center, 210 N. Magnolia St, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Sweetwater Town Hall, 31380 Alabama Highway 10
· --Wednesday, April 30 – Choctaw County, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Toxey, AL, at Toxey Library
-- Thursday, May 1, Clarke County – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Coffee, AL in Legion Hall, 37 Legion Street, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Jackson, AL in City Hall Conference Room, 400 Commerce St.
· --Monday, May 5, Jefferson County: 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Bessemer Public Library, 400 19th St. North (pending confirmation), and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.,Center Point City Hall, 2209 Centerpoint Parkway
· --Tuesday, May 6, Jefferson County – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Brighton Senior Services Center, 4100 Main St., and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Gardendale Civic Center, 970 Main St.
· --Wednesday, May 7, Jefferson County – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Irondale Detective Building, 5415 Beacon Drive, Suite 123, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Leeds Civic Center, 1000 Park Dr.
· --Thursday, May 8, Jefferson County – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Pinson Public Library, 4410 Main Street (pending confirmation)
· --Friday, May 9, Jefferson County – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Trussville Civic Center, 3381 Clay Road, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Warrior City Council Chambers, 215 North Main Street.
· --Monday, May 12, Jefferson County – 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Hoover Public Library, 200 Municipal Drive.