The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

March 2, 2014

Upcoming primaries to test voter ID laws

By Lora Scripps

— With several states, including Alabama, now required to present photo identification before casting ballots, Tuesday’s election in Texas is being considered a major test of voter ID laws.

For months, election workers have been preparing new voting procedures.

The Associated Press reported that the debut of the new laws in a few smaller-scale elections over the last year has already exposed some problems, such as mismatched names, confusion over absentee voting provisions and rules that require voters to travel great distances to obtain documentation. In one case, voters had no recourse if their credentials were challenged, according to AP.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that states can require voters to produce photo ID at the polls without violating their constitutional rights.

In 2013, a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 was thrown out in a decision that allowed voter ID laws to take effect in states where voting procedures had been under strict federal oversight for nearly 50 years, according to AP.

Alabamians who plan to vote in the June 3 primary election must provide a valid photo ID at the polling station.

The Legislature approved a law in 2011 requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. The law takes effect with this year’s primaries.

Registered voters who don’t have a photo ID can apply for a free voter ID card at the Limestone County Board of Registrars office on the second floor of the Clinton Street courthouse annex.

Only those registered to vote in Alabama and do not already have a photo ID for any county, state or agency are eligible for the free Alabama voter card.

Other forms of photo ID include a valid:

• Alabama driver’s license

• Alabama nondriver ID card

• Alabama photo voter ID card

• Employee ID card issued by any branch, department agency or entity of the U.S. government, the state, county, municipality, board, authority or other state entity

• Student or employee ID issued by any state college, university, postgrad, technical or professional school

• U.S. military photo ID card

• Tribal photo ID card

Chairman of the Board Felix Liveoak stressed that the free voter photo ID is for those who do not have valid photo identification, and recipients must have up-to-date voter registration.

To find out more, call 256-233-6105