By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, March 11, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead defended Alabama’s photo ID bill after U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden (D) attacked Alabama’s new voter I.D. law.
Chairman Armistead said, “Vice President Joe Biden has taken a pot shot at Alabama’s Photo Voter ID law, saying he hopes Congress will “modernize” the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to counter the “hatred” behind voter ID laws in Alabama. “These guys never go away,” Biden said of supporters of voter ID. “Hatred never, never goes away.”
Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett (R) said in a written statement, ““If a voter does not already have a driver’s license, state issued photo ID, a federal issued photo ID, or any other acceptable form of ID for voting, then that person would be eligible for a free photo ID and we encourage them to get one before the June 3rd primary.”
31 states now require a photo ID to vote. Georgia adopted the process in 2006.
Chairman Armistead said, “Alabama’s Photo Voter ID law goes into effect this year beginning with the June primary. Every voter will be required to present a photo voter ID in order to vote. The Secretary of State has issued a Photo Voter ID Guide which explains this new law in detail. Valid Photo ID’s include Alabama Driver’s License, U.S. Passport, Military ID card, Government Employee ID card, Student or Employee ID card from Alabama’s Colleges and other state or federal issued ID. A voter who does not present a photo Voter ID card will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot as provided for by law and will only be counted if identity is documented by the first Friday after the election.”
Secretary Bennett said, “Voters can get a free photo voter ID card at their Board of Registrars office in their county or in the Secretary of State’s office. We are also scheduling mobile site visits to get to some of the more remote areas of the state to make this process convenient to everyone.” Secretary Bennett plans to visit all 67 counties and those visists will begin on March 17th.
Sec. Bennett said, “Registrars offices are ready and we encourage voters who do not have an ID to get one early. This process is about making the elections process free from potential fraud and manipulation.” National estimates are that 11% of registered voters do not have an ID however, Secretary Bennett believes that the way the law is written that number is lower in our state.
The photo voter ID law will take effect in the first statewide primary of 2014, which is June 3rd.
A voter can use any of the following forms of photo ID at the polls starting June 3, 2014:
- Valid Alabama Driver’s License
- Valid Alabama Nondriver ID
- Valid Alabama Photo Voter ID Card
- Valid State Issued ID (Alabama or any other state)
- Valid Federal issued ID
- Valid US passport
- Valid Employee ID from Federal Government, State of Alabama, County, Municipality, Board or other entity of this state
- Valid student or employee ID from a public or private college or university in the State of Alabama (including postgraduate technical or professional schools)
- Valid student or employee ID issued by a state institution of higher learning in any other state
- Valid Military ID
- Valid Tribal ID
The Secretary of State’s office said that if a voter possesses any of these forms of ID, he/she is not eligible to receive a free Alabama photo voter ID card. The voter must bring one of these photo IDs to the polls on Election Day or place a copy of the ID in absentee ballot materials.
For more information on the process on how to receive a free voter ID, voters can call 1-800-274-VOTE or go to www.alabamavoterid.com.
Chairman Armistead said that, “A voter who does not have a valid photo ID in his or her possession at the polls will be permitted to vote a regular ballot if the individual is positively identified by two election officials as a voter on the poll list who is eligible to vote and the election officials sign a sworn affidavit so stating.”
The Alabama Republican Party is launching its Ballot Security Plan to protect the fairness of the election process. ALGOP is going to train and place poll watchers in voting locations throughout the state to watch for attempts at voter fraud and any irregularities that might occur at polling locations. Each poll watcher have a designated ALGOP attorney to report to in each county.
Zach Bowman has been named Director of Voter Engagement. Bowman will be responsible for ALGOPs voter registration drives and Ballot Security Plan. In preparation for the June primary and July run-off, ALGOP will have voter registration drives throughout the state to register voters in Alabama and to educate them on their voting rights. Person interested in volunteering as a Poll Watcher or working in ALGOP’s Voter Registration drives should contact Zach at 205-212-5900 or email him at [email protected] Interested parties can also contact their local Republican Party County Chairperson.
Chairman Armistead said, “Anyone who has followed Alabama politics knows that the Democrats have fought Republican attempts to implement a Photo Voter ID law for decades claiming that it is discriminatory against some and is an attempt to suppress Democrat voters. But how can that be when the law is applied equally to everyone? The only voters that Republicans want to suppress are those who are voting illegally. Since the state will provide a free Photo Voter ID to anyone who doesn’t have one, where is the logic to their argument? You can expect the opponents of the Photo Voter ID law to get louder and louder as we get closer to the election. But, the Alabama Republican Party will not back down in its efforts to insure that we have the highest level of integrity at every polling location in the state.”