By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) and Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D) both announced in separate statements that they support the new federal lawsuit from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) challenging Alabama’s photo voter ID law, which the NAACP claims is discriminatory. The NAACP LDF is representing the NAACP Conference of Alabama and the Greater Birmingham Ministries, which are suing the state of Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley (R), ALEA Secretary, Spencer Collier, Attorney General Luther Strange (R), and Secretary of State John Merrill (R).
Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor Maya Harris released a written statement: “Yet again, the scales of justice in Alabama are out of balance and in dire need of a reset. The right to vote is essential to our democracy, and so Hillary Clinton strongly supports the NAACP-LDF’s efforts to right the wrongs of Governor Bentley and the Alabama Legislature. Voting rights are an illusion if the state requires people to have voter IDs and then makes it much harder for people to get them. This misguided law could disenfranchise over a quarter of a million voters in Alabama and result in suppressing the voices of African American and Latino voters, depriving them of their basic civil rights. Hillary Clinton believes we should make it easier to vote, not harder and as President, she will fight to expand access to the ballot box.”
US Representative Terri A. Sewell said in a statement, “I fully support the federal lawsuit filed by the Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Alabama NAACP, challenging the photo ID law in our state. I have repeatedly argued that Alabama’s photo ID law is a renewed assault on voting rights. The restrictive law is little more than a solution in search of a problem.”
Congresswoman Terri Sewell said, “The reality is that voter fraud is rare. Requiring a photo ID law to vote has done more harm in limiting voter access to the ballot box than actually exposing incidents of fraud. The Alabama photo ID law is reminiscent of our Jim Crow past. It restricts the voting rights of more than 250,000 Alabamians who do not have a photo ID. Many of the disenfranchised are African-Americans, low-income individuals, senior citizens, and the disabled. There is no denying that requiring a photo ID adds another barrier to voting and thus limits the ability to American citizens to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
Rep. Sewell said, “I applaud the efforts of the Alabama NAACP and the Greater Birmingham Ministries in challenging Alabama’s photo ID law. I am a proud Alabamian and acknowledge the progress we have made. Unfortunately, the photo ID law coupled with the DMV closures and the violations to the Motor Voter law further undermines our state’s ability to move beyond our painful past. I introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act in June to stop the renewed assault on voting rights, and to restore preclearance for states like Alabama where new barriers to voting threaten to silence the most vulnerable voices in our electorate. The need for this lawsuit is evidence that Alabama cannot run away from its painful past, and we must vow to never repeat it. The need for this lawsuit indicates that progress is elusive, and that we must be ever vigilant in our fight to protect the right to vote and honor the sacrifices that were made by the courageous Foot Soldiers of the Voting Rights Movement.”
Former Secretary of State Clinton was in Montgomery on Tuesday to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Clinton said that the US needed to have a deep national conversation about the inequalities that still exist. She also spoke about gun violence and criminal justice reform.
Congresswoman Sewell said in a statement, “Sixty years ago today, Rosa Parks took a bold stand against racial discrimination by refusing to give up her seat on a public bus. Her quiet, dignified courage sparked a city-wide boycott of the Montgomery bus system that broke the very will of a City heavily steeped in segregation. She inspired a civil rights movement that changed a nation.”
Rep. Sewell said, “The Montgomery Bus Boycott stands as a powerful testament of the will of a disenfranchised people to work collectively to achieve extraordinary social change. While we commemorate the progress that has been made, we must also recommit ourselves to the fight for equal justice. We must remain vigilant in the struggle for voting rights, criminal justice reform, and economic equality.”
Congresswoman Sewell represents the Seventh Congressional District.
Former Secretary of State, New York Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton has jumped to a commanding lead in polls in the Democratic Primary with 57.8 percent of likely Democratic Primary voters in national polls. She is followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) with 30.4 and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley at 3.6 percent.