By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
US Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders called Republicans, “cowards” and singled out Alabama in comments that his campaign is promoting on Facebook.
Senator Sanders said, “Republican cowards all across the country, including Alabama, are very clearly trying to win elections by suppressing the vote making it hard for low income people, minorities, young people and seniors to vote. That has to change. Anyone 18 years of age or older should be automatically registered to vote.”
Sanders’ principal rival for the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, slammed Alabama for not having early voting opportunities, for demanding proof of citizenship to register to vote, for requiring that voters present a photo ID at the polls, and for closing driver’s license offices in 31 rural counties.
Mrs. Clinton told the Alabama Democratic Conference Saturday, “No one in this State, no one, should ever forget the history that enabled generations of people left out and left behind to finally be able to vote.”
Governor Bentley said, “The closure of 31 Alabama Driver’s License offices is based on a shortfall in funds appropriated by the state Legislature to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. To claim this decision is based on race is absolutely not true.”
Alabama’s Republican legislators believe that providing photo ID at voting is necessary to curb voter fraud. Secretary of State John Merrill (R) said recently that he was for making it easy to vote; but “hard to cheat.”
Republican Presidential Candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that Democrats oppose photo ID laws because they want to be able to cheat in elections.
Sen. Bernie Sanders visited Alabama in June, when he met with 400 progressive activists in Birmingham. The challenge for Sanders in southern states like Alabama is proving that he can grow his constituency beyond White ideological leftists and win with Black voters. Sanders is a self professed ‘socialist’ who rejects free market economics. Sanders is promising higher taxes, a higher minimum wage, and more social programs if elected.
On Tuesday the Democratic field got smaller when former US Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia) withdrew from the race. Vice President Joe Biden (D) will announce his decision on whether or not to run for President in the next few days.
The Alabama Presidential Primary is on March 1.