Secretary of State Jim Bennett said today that Alabama’s new photo voter ID law caused only a few inquiries to his office during the Nov. 4 election. The general election was the biggest test yet of the law, with 1.2 million people voting. It was in effect for the first time during the primaries in June. “We feel very good about the results of the implementation of that program,” Bennett said. The Republican-led Legislature passed the law in 2011, saying it would help prevent voter fraud. Voters were already required to show an ID, but could use those with no photo, like a Social Security card or utility bill. Many Democrats opposed the law, saying it was intended to suppress the vote by making it harder on the elderly and people with no driver’s license. Opponents also said there was little evidence of voter impersonation fraud.
This year, Bennett and other officials helped spread the word about the new requirement with public service announcements and a mobile unit to issue free IDs.
Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, an outspoken opponent of the law before the election, said it was a factor in the 40 percent turnout, lowest for a general election since at least 1986. “My concerns are even greater,” Sanders said.