Archived Story

Photo Voter ID gets little response throughout county

Published 8:20pm Thursday, March 20, 2014

The employees of the Alabama Secretary of State’s office never got a chance to demonstrate their new mobile photo voter ID system in New Site Thursday morning, because no one showed up looking for one.

The state’s chief voting official dispatched employees across the state starting Monday to make special photo voter identifications to be sure everyone is able to comply with the 2011 legislation requiring photo-ID to cast a ballot in the state. The June 3 primary will be the first election where photo ID is required.

Alabama is one of 34 states in the nation to require photo identification at the polls.

Voters can always get a photo voter ID free of charge from the Board of Registrars office, which is located at the Tallapoosa County Courthouse in Dadeville. But Secretary of State Jim Bennett sent his employees into the field to make sure and hit “some of the more remote areas of the county to make this process convenient for all voters,” he said.

But after three hours waiting at New Site Town Hall Thursday, they still had not seen the first citizen.

Local voting activist Matilda Hamilton was the only other person in the room. She said it was “disturbing” to see so little interest from the public.

“But the schedule was so tight, we were not able to have the time to reach out communities,” she said.

The turnout wasn’t much better for the afternoon session at Jackson’s Gap. Two residents stopped by, but one was not registered to vote — they remedied that — and the other was registered in Elmore County.

Hamilton asked the Secretary of State employees to show her how the system worked, but they could not, because an actual voter in need of the documentation was required to even take the digital picture.

Anything less than that, they said, could create a way to commit voter fraud.

IDs already valid at the polls will include valid Alabama Driver’s License, nondriver IDs, employee IDs from federal, state, county, municipal or other governmental entity of the state, military ID, a student ID issued by an Alabama institute of higher learning or a tribal ID.

To obtain the free photo voter ID, a resident must present a document that contains the voter’s full name and date of birth, a document showing the voter’s date of birth that can be verified by information on file with the state, document showing the person is a registered voter or a document showing the voter’s name and address as reflected in the voter registration record.

Anyone with questions are encouraged to call the Secretary of State’s Elections Division at 1-800-274-8683, email alavoter@vote.alabama.gov or visit www.alabamavoterid.com.

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