Right Hooks

Sorry, but DMV Closures in Alabama Ain't Jim Crow

Minorities' civil rights are not being stripped by a budget measure.

Dan Gilmore · Oct. 12, 2015
Freedmen voting in New Orleans circa 1867

If you’ve paid attention to the Leftmedia recently, you probably heard its cries of the return of Jim Crow in Alabama. The Left thinks that, because the state is shuttering many of its part-time Department of Motor Vehicle branch offices, the state that requires a photo ID to vote has restricted its citizens’ civil rights. It’s a systematic effort to prevent the poor from voting, the Left cries. Not so, says Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky. Alabama is closing the offices because it needs to trim its budget, and the part-time DMV branch offices distributed only 5% of the drivers licenses issued — kind of an easy line item to trim. So where’s a voter to go? Every county in the state issues voter IDs for free, and those offices are often in the same location as the former DMV offices. Von Spakovsky writes, “So individuals who would have used one of the part-time satellite DMV offices to get an ID will be able to simply walk to another office — in the same building — to get the ID they need for voting. And that is supposed to be the reimposition of Jim Crow?” Leave it to the Left to equate getting licensed to drive — a regulated activity not guaranteed by the Constitution — with the right to vote. Fortunately, exercising the right to vote in Alabama does not mean braving the line at the DMV.

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