By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, October 9, the Alabama Republican Party responded to the release of a report on Wednesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicating the voter ID laws in Tennessee and Kansas may have suppressed voter turnout and affected minorities and young people disproportionately.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said in a written statement in support of Alabama’s voter ID law: “Alabama’s voter ID law is designed to ensure that only legal votes are cast and counted. We believe one person should receive one vote. The state has promoted the law on television, radio, on billboards and in print ads to make sure every Alabama citizen is ready for implementation. The state even offers free IDs to those who do not have a valid photo ID.”
The report came at the request of U.S. Senators: Bernie Sanders (I from Vermont), Patrick Leahy (D from Vermont), Dick Durbin (D from Illinois), Bill Nelson (D from Florida.) and Chuck Schumer (D from New York).
According to reporting by ALGOP, The report claimed that voter ID laws have nothing to do with voter fraud and everything to do with lowering election turnout. The report compared the changes in voter turnouts from 2008 elections (before voter ID laws were in place) to 2012 elections (after voter ID laws were in place) in Kansas and Tennessee. Both states experienced a two percent drop in turnout from 2008 to 2012. Their results pointed towards the cost of getting a driver’s license, in order to comply with voter ID laws, as a deterrent to citizens.
Chairman Armistead said, “If voter turnout dropped in Kansas and Tennessee after implementing a voter ID law, then that may be a good indication that the law is working and has curtailed fraudulent votes. The intended purpose of voter ID laws is to prevent fraud and hopefully that is what is happening.”
According to reporting by the Washington Post’s Reid Wilson, the GAO report show that fewer Blacks have the required types of identification. The GAO report claims that because of that turnout among Blacks fell by a larger percent than turnout among Whites voters in both Tennessee and Kansas. According to the report, Black turnout dropped by 3.7 percentage points more than white turnout in Kansas. In Tennessee the difference was 1.5 percentage points more for Blacks than for Whites. 18 year olds participation dropped by 7.1 percentage points more than for 44 to 53 year old in Kansas. In Tennessee the drop difference was 1.2 percentage points.
Senator Durbin said in a statement, “This report is even more proof that these state laws significantly suppress and discourage Americans from exercising their constitutionally protected right to vote.”
Chairman Armistead said, “We know that voter fraud is alive and well in Alabama. We’ve seen documented evidence of individuals paying for votes, opening polls early to let ‘friends’ vote, stealing votes through absentee voting, etc. A photo ID should be a minimum requirement to protect the sanctity of our sacred right to vote. Voter ID laws are only deterrents to those committing voter fraud, and the Democrats know it!”
Chairman Armistead concluded, “The Democrats are using scare tactics to manipulate voters. The Alabama Republican Party is fighting to protect the integrity of elections by showing citizens that their vote does matter. The goal of voter ID laws is simple: one person, one vote.”
To vote in November you must present valid photo identification at the polls.