A federal lawsuit challenging Alabama’s law that requires voters to present identification before they can cast a ballot was filed Wednesday by Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Alabama NAACP. The lawsuit alleges Alabama violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when the state enacted a photo ID law in 2011. Alabama’s secretary of state had estimated that at least 280,000 registered voters would be immediately blocked from voting, the lawsuit states “If the Photo ID Law remains in place, hundreds of thousands more eligible and registered voters will be barred from voting in the years to come,” according to the lawsuit.
“It is no accident that a disproportionate number of those disfranchised voters are African-American and Latino. Indeed, the Photo ID Law is simply the latest chapter in Alabama’s long and brutal history of intentional racial discrimination,” the lawsuit states. “For five decades, Alabama’s use of discriminatory voting schemes has necessitated repeated federal intervention. Now, Alabama again seeks to disfranchise thousands of African-American and Latino voters—all in the name of “curing” a voter fraud problem that does not exist.”
The lawsuit seeks to block the photo ID law and voucher requirement. In addition, the lawsuit asks the court to impose pre-clearance obligations under the Voting Rights Act, which would again require Alabama to seek federal approval before enforcing any changes to its voting laws.