Alabama's Secretary of State has announced that the first election using the new photo voter ID law was a great start to the implementation of the program.
Jim Bennett says that of the over 600,000 people who voted on June 3, his office only received a few calls with concerning issues over the new law.
"There were some calls and concerns but nothing that cannot be fixed with educational outreach which we plan to continue before the July run-off and the November general election," Bennett said. "All in all, we believe the program worked and our efforts to ensure that those who needed a free photo voter ID card had the opportunity to receive one were positive."
Bennett said that there are certain groups who have stated in news articles that people were being "turned away" from the polls for lack of identification. He points out, however, that with the new law, people are not being turned away but instead are offered a provisional ballot. Those ballots are the ones required if the proper photo ID is not produced.
"Certainly we regret any time that a voter is not able to cast a regular ballot. However, there are provisions in the law for someone who does not have an acceptable form of photo ID to vote," Bennett added.
Bennett also states that every voter has the opportunity to get their free photo voter ID, even on Election Day, at their local Board of Registrars.
"We have met and worked with various groups like the NAACP since the beginning of the implementation process and they have been helpful in getting the word out about the new photo voter ID requirement," he added. "We also conducted an extensive media campaign to inform voters and made 93 stops with mobile photo units traveling 12,000 miles around the state."
Bennett says that most Alabamians think the Legislature made the right call to add Alabama to a growing list of states that require valid photo IDs at the polls.
"Some out-of-state critics may think the worst about Alabama but the truth is our state manages our elections well and we work very hard to ensure that every one who can vote gets that opportunity," Bennett said.
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