Alabama Congresswoman Asks DOJ To Investigate DMV Closures

October 5, 2015 10:51 a.m.

The U.S. House member representing Alabama’s only majority minority district district has requested that the Department of Justice investigate the closure of 31 driver’s licenses offices in the state as a possible violation of her constituents’ constitutional right to vote.

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) released a letter Monday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking the department to investigate the closures in a state which requires government-issued photo IDs to vote. Eight of the 14 counties in Sewell’s district will be without a DMV, the letter said.

“Despite a budgetary pretext, the consequence of this decision is to deny the most vulnerable in Alabama an equal opportunity to obtain a means to vote,” Sewell wrote. “These closures will potentially disenfranchise Alabama’s poor, elderly, disabled and black communities.”

The closures, announced last week, drew a firestorm of criticism — including from Hillary Clinton, who called them “a blast from the Jim Crow past” — out of concerns that it will be that much harder for poor and minority citizens to meet the requirements for the state’s tough voter ID law.

Alabama officials have continued to defend the voter ID law and say those without driver’s licenses or the handful of other approved forms can obtain free state issued ID from local boards of registrar.

Read the full letter below:

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