Lawmaking proved slow-going in the Alabama House of Representatives Tuesday, as a bill that would move up the deadline to register to vote drew filibusters from black lawmakers. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Wes Long, R-Guntersville, would move the deadline to register to vote from 10 days prior to an election to 17 days prior. Registrars have supported adoption of the measure, saying they need the additional time to prepare a proper list of voters for elections and correct any mistakes that may emerge on voter registration forms. The bill passed the House in 2011 — with a window of 14 days — but did not move out of the Senate.
Black lawmakers, however, say the bill will cause problems in getting people out to the polls, and accused the sponsors of trying to hold down the African-American vote.
“If you don’t want people to vote, just say they don’t have the right to vote,” said Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Prichard, the chairman of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus, during a lengthy filibuster of the House’s agenda Tuesday afternoon. “If you’re trying to make it more difficult for people to vote, just say what you’re trying to do.”