The great state of Alabama, my home state, seems to have a major problem on their hands. They were one of many Republican controlled states that passed Voter ID laws, and their law went into effect for the June 3, 2014 primary. The primary ID listed on the Secretary of State’s website is a valid driver’s license. For many who support those laws, the claim is that a driver’s license is easy enough to get. Well, Alabama proves them wrong only as Alabama can.
At the Huntsville Department of Public Safety location, the branch workers tell people getting an Alabama driver’s license to show up at 5:30 a.m. so workers can get to them by mid-afternoon. The office doesn’t open until 8 a.m., so people have to start their wait outside.
The long wait times are just one symptom of the problems faced by the Alabama Department of Public Safety, which issues driver’s licenses, keeps troopers on state roads and Marine Police working its waterways. The department has about 1,200 employees.
The driver’s license operation receives special mention from Spencer Collier, Gov. Robert Bentley’s secretary of law enforcement. Collier flat-out tells AL.com that the Alabama driver’s license system, which will issue 1.25 million licenses this year, “isn’t working.”
Since the state’s $1.84 billion General Fund, which funds one-third of the department, is running the risk of going deep into red ink next year, solutions are being weighed to alleviate the long lines without new funding.
So, you pass a law requiring voters to have a valid ID with the primary ID listed being a driver’s license. Now, you realize only 2 months before a general election that your license system isn’t working. That leads me to wonder of the system isn’t working by design, or is this just pure coincidence that IDs needed to vote are harder to come by than Super Bowl tickets?
The article goes on to say that the Voter ID Law isn’t responsible for the backlog, but when you have to show up at 5:30am, a full 2.5 hours before the office opens, just to try to get your license, then something is completely f**ked up. The failure of knowingly passing such laws and not ensuring the system is working properly to ensure people can get the license if they need it is solely at the feet of Alabama Republicans as they have a solid majority throughout the entire government of Alabama. There’s no blaming Democrats or Obama for this foolishness. The law was passed and signed into law back in 2011, so why in the hell is the infrastructure in place to avoid people having to wait 10 hours to get a driver’s license?
This is why I hate such laws being tossed around all willy-nilly. If you’re going to enact such a law, then ensure that you have the infrastructure in place to ensure the law can be enforced equitably. To the credit of the state, they do offer free IDs at the voter registrar’s office, but that free ID ain’t going to allow you to drive anywhere. You still have to have a driver’s license to drive to work and elsewhere.
Boy, do I ever wish for the return of common sense governance. I pray that this country gets some before these politicians wreck the entire nation, one law or budget cut at a time.