The Alabama Secretary of State’s office Tuesday issued final rules on the implementation of the state’s voter identification law, with an eye toward making voter ID cards available by January. In 2011, the Legislature passed a law requiring voters to present a photo ID issued by a government, tribe, college or university for the 2014 elections. The law initially was subject to preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the criteria for preclearance earlier this year. The ID requirement will kick in for the state primary election next June. The new rules will not affect anyone who currently has a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license. Those who do not will be able to apply for a voter identification at county boards of registrars or at the secretary of state’s office. Additionally, voters will be able to obtain “free nondriver identification cards” at offices where they would get driver’s licenses.
Voters who register at boards of registrars will also be able to apply for an ID card at the same time, should they lack a government-issued photo ID. The card would not expire as long as the individual lives at the same address. Applicants must provide documentation showing date of birth, voter registration status and name and address as reflected in the voting record.
Secretary of State Jim Bennett said Tuesday his office plans to spend the next few months training registrars and preparing to get the system online. He stressed that those with photo IDs will not need the cards.
“College and university IDs, public and private, (and) military cards with a photo will work,” he said. “And tribal cards will work. None of those categories of people will be affected by this … . There will be some who don’t have anything, but we will go through extraordinary means to get (IDs) to them.”