In Alabama, voting rights remain a critical issue for many, with elections always an important topic of discussion. With the upcoming November election set to decide who will take office in the state capitol, Alabama citizens are being reminded of the importance of exercising their civic duty and casting their vote.
A long history of voter suppression and other tactics has made voting rights in Alabama a very contentious issue. For decades, many Alabamians — especially African American citizens — have been denied their right to vote, while others have faced other obstacles such as poll taxes, literacy tests, and beyond. Despite recent legal reforms, both federal and state laws still pose barriers to full access to voting rights in Alabama.
Fortunately, the legal framework around elections in Alabama has been changing in recent years. In 2017, Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill that restored felony voting rights for individuals who had completed their sentences and probation after being convicted of a nonviolent crime. While this was hailed as an important step forward for the state’s civil rights movement, full restoration of felons’ voting rights has yet to become law.
Earlier this year, legislators enacted sweeping reforms that improved processes to make it easier for citizens to register and vote, as well as giving counties more tools to manage polling sites and other precincts more effectively on Election Day. This legislation ensures that citizens can get the ID cards they need to vote when they go to the polls on Election Day, allowing them to cast their ballots without any issues. Additionally, additional provisions have been added that extend polling hours and make sure lines at early-voting centers stay short throughout the day.
Voting is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans, and here in Alabama it remains both a reminder of our country’s legacy of disenfranchisement, but also an opportunity for change. We encourage all Alabamians to be active participants on Election Day and make sure your voice is heard. Through your vote, you can help ensure that everyone’s voting rights are protected and that every voice is heard during this critical moment in our state’s history.
This election season, it appears that voting rights in Alabama are becoming a major focus ahead of the November elections. Despite its place as an often overlooked state in national politics, Alabama is preparing for an extremely contentious and hard-fought election cycle.
The state boasts one of the most stringent voter identification laws in the nation, requiring residents to produce valid photo identification when voting in any election. The law has been labeled by many as a form of voter suppression and put in place by Republican lawmakers and state officials, leading to a legal battle surrounding its implementation in 2016. Though federal judges have ruled against the law, state courts and officials have recently decided to pass legislation that incorporates elements of the law back into the system.
In addition to legal challenges, Alabama is also contending with lingering allegations of voter inequality stemming from its past agreements with the federal government over its use of various voting practices. Citing a pattern of discriminatory behavior against certain communities and individuals during the 2016 elections, the Justice Department has called on Alabama to provide closer scrutiny during their upcoming elections. This comes at a time when groups such as the ACLU have been actively pushing for expanded voting rights for those living along state borders, including allowing them to vote in either Mississippi or Alabama depending on their address.
Given this confluence of factors, it’s clear that voting rights will likely be a major point of discussion leading up to November. For now, it’s anyone’s guess as to how things will shake out in terms of who has access to what ballot box and which laws will dominate proceedings. But one thing remains certain: Alabama is keeping a close eye on its voting landscape and making sure that all voices are heard this election cycle.