In Montgomery, the Statehouse Republican majority is earning a dubious reputation for following the crowd. That crowd being other Republican legislative majorities across the United States.
When other states began writing bigotry into their laws in the form of anti-illegal immigration laws, Alabama did the same.
As other states bogged down in the fever swamp of conspiracy theories suggesting United Nations takeovers of private property, Alabama passed a law banning something called Agenda 21.
And with toughened voter-ID laws all the rage in GOP circles, Alabama in 2011 passed a law requiring photo identification from voters on Election Day.
Couldn’t be because of rampant voter fraud. In 20 years, there have been fewer than a dozen cases of Alabamians convicted of fraudulently voting.
Couldn’t be because of a lack of a voter-ID law. Alabama already has a law requiring ID; acceptable forms included driver’s licenses as well as utility bills, Social Security cards and other documents establishing the name and residency of a voter.
Couldn’t be because Alabama was so flush with cash that it needed a place to spend it on a non-existent problem. In fact, Alabama is so cash-strapped that it’s difficult to imagine how it will be able to afford to produce photo IDs for those without one who are willing to take the time and effort to obtain what’s required at the polling place.
What’s far more likely is that Alabama’s Republican majority didn’t want to miss out on a chance to look just as tough as the next state.
All this would be a relatively harmless case study in how the party of Lincoln is ripping itself apart in a race to the bottom. However, the consequences of Alabama’s voter ID are very real. Serious analysis strongly suggests Alabama’s law — like others across the country — will depress voter turnout among the poor, the most defenseless among us. They, too, deserve a chance to vote without climbing unnecessary barriers.