Alabama’s head law enforcement officer said that he will close all but four DMV offices across the state if the legislature doesn’t provide more funding, reported the Huntsville Times. Such a massive closure will prevent poor minority groups from being able to reach the voting booth.
Budget cuts in Alabama are “unacceptable” and “unworkable,” Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier said during a press conference about the legislature’s proposed budgets. Collier has been trying to rally support for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposed tax package.
Collier’s agency, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), was created in 2013 to merge the Department of Public Safety and 11 other smaller agencies. Last year, the ALEA received $55 million from the state, but it’s set to receive only $40 million next year. Collier is trying to preserve his current standing budget.
The only offices set to remain open are in Birmingham, Huntsville, Montgomery, and Mobile, forcing 40,000 people who receive new licenses to cram into a few offices across the state.
This is the result of Republican tax cuts; economic shortfalls that force the closure of vital government offices. What’s more, thousands of minority voters may not have the chance to cast their ballot if the closures happen.
Twelve to 15 counties in Alabama’s “Black Belt” will lose licensing offices, meaning blacks in those counties will not have immediate access to getting a photo ID. This will further prevent minorities from voting because the state of Alabama passed a voter suppression photo ID law in 2011.
— Kyle Whitmire (@WarOnDumb) September 30, 2015
Watch David Pakman address Alabama’s attempt to shut down the Democratic vote
For more on this story, visit AL.com “Voter ID and driver’s licence office closures black-out Alabama’s black belt”