The point was to protest what the 30 people assembled said was the state’s misplaced priorities in recent attempts to shut down rural driver’s license offices – major sources of photo IDs required for voting – while keeping some money-losing Alabama Beverage Control (ABC) stores open. “They would leave state-owned liquor stores open that were losing up to $75,000 a year,” said Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma. “What it did was told us over how many a year it was easier to get alcohol than it was to get the ballot. They work hard to make sure you get alcohol. They work hard to make sure you don’t get the ballot.” The crowd chanted “Give us the ballot, not just the bottle” at the end of the performance. The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy organized the event.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), citing budget and staffing issues, announced at the end of September it planned to close 31 part-time driver’s license bureaus in rural counties. ALEA said the moves only saved $100,000. But officials cited a need to keep examiners in full-time offices. The affected offices issued around 9,000 driver’s licenses and photo ID cards in 2014, but the impact was higher in Black Belt counties, where the transactions equaled about 2.1 percent of the voters in those areas.
The moves set off a national controversy. Critics, noting the state’s photo ID voting requirement, accused Alabama officials of trying to make it harder for rural and minority voters to cast ballots.
Full Article: Rally: ‘Give us the ballot, not just the bottle’.