Tweets from polling locations across Alabama are painting a picture of intentional voter suppression and intimidation on the part of election officials.

Unlike most states, early voting is not permitted in Alabama, which some voters opt to do if they can’t afford to take a Tuesday off of work. Alabama also doesn’t allow same-day voter registration, for voters who missed the deadline to register but still show up at their polling place hoping to cast a ballot. There’s also no pre-registration for teenagers who obtain a driver’s license prior to turning 18. And in Alabama and 19 other states, absentee voters have to provide a valid excuse for why they can’t vote on Election Day.

Additionally, Alabama is a state that requires voters to carry a photo ID. While one might counter that all a voter needs to do is a visit a driver’s license office and obtain one, it’s important to note that disgraced former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley closed nearly three dozen driver’s license offices across the state in 2015, mostly in predominantly black communities.

Alabama
Alabama counties without a driver’s license office highlighted in red (graphic by Kyle Whitmire of AL.com)

“We now know the driver’s license closures saved little money — somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000, tops, according to Bentley’s former ALEA secretary Spencer Collier,” wrote journalist Kyle Whitmire for AL.com. “The routine shortfalls in the General Fund budget typically range from $100 million to $200 million. The closures didn’t even scratch that. They were a naked act of political vengeance.”

One of the more alarming facts about today’s election is that Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who was tasked with monitoring Russia’s 2016 parliamentary election for the watchdog group Operation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), told reporters he witnessed no irregularities despite the same OSCE report he contributed to reporting “serious irregularities during voting.” One of those irregularities, for example, was Vladimir Putin’s party winning the election with 12 million falsified votes. Merrill added that he would “hope to implement lessons learned from his trip to Russia,” according to WHNT.

However, in addition to these barriers, voters are experiencing unusually long lines, faulty voting machines, and even police appearing at polling stations to arrest anyone who shows up to vote who has a warrant issued for their arrest.

Twitter user @xobritdear went viral in a thread explaining how her vote was almost suppressed, and how she was only allowed to cast her ballot because she happened to have a copy of her birth certificate with her:

Here are a few more of the most appalling examples of voter suppression in Alabama right now:

Both Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones were neck-and-neck in polls leading up to today’s election. President Trump and former President Barack Obama have both recorded robocalls to get out the vote for their respective party nominees.

 

Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based freelancer specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.

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