As if our state did not look bad enough after the widely criticized decision to close driver license offices, there now comes the report that Alabama faces a lawsuit from the Department of Justice because it is not in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act – and never has been. That law, commonly referred to as the “Motor Voter Act,” was enacted in May 1993. Politically, that’s a lifetime ago. Jim Folsom Jr. was governor of Alabama. Bill Clinton was president of the United States. The purpose of the law was simple – to make voter registration easier by allowing people to register when obtaining or renewing driver licenses or when visiting state offices that provide public assistance. It was supposed to be a seamless process; individuals did not have to make a special request for registration. But Alabama has essentially ignored the act in many cases, acting as though it were some sort of optional proposal rather than the law of the land. Thus Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general, has warned the state that a lawsuit looms.
“Our investigation indicates widespread noncompliance with Section 5 in Alabama,” Gupta wrote in a letter to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. “Throughout the state, it appears that applications for an Alabama driver’s license or a non-driver identification card do not serve as applications for voter registration with respect to elections for federal office, and that change of address submissions for driver license purposes do not serve as notification of a change of address for voter registration purposes.”
Both are required under the act. Gupta also noted that many state offices do not accept and transmit voter registration forms to election authorities, another requirement of the act. This is indefensible.
Full Article: Failure to follow ‘Motor Voter’ law indefensible.