Friday, Alabama Secretary of State Beth Chapman released the state's 2014 plan for implementation of photo voter ID in the form of administrative rules.
The plan states that a person without any acceptable form of photo voter ID can receive a free ID by going to the Department of Public Safety in their county and receiving a free non-drivers identification card or by going to their county courthouse Board of Registrars office and receiving a free photo voter ID there. A voter can also visit the Secretary of State's office in the State Capitol to receive a free photo voter ID.
The law states that you do not need to apply for a free photo voter ID card if you already possess a valid Alabama driver's license or valid non-drivers ID card; a valid ID or photo employee card issued by a branch, department or agency of the State of Alabama, any other state, or the United States; a valid US passport; a student ID; a US military ID – both which contain a photo; and also a valid tribal ID card.
Also included in the plan is a form that a voter must fill out in order to receive a free photo voter ID and also a form that must be signed for the non-drivers ID card. A request for proposal is currently being finalized for a vendor with mobile capabilities to produce the free photo voter IDs in the courthouses and remote locations. Once that vendor is selected, that full process will be announced and the process advertised.
The administrative rules will go through a comment period and comments can be accepted for a time period of thirty five days beginning on July 31st. The full administrative rules as filed can be found by following the link placed on the website for the Secretary of State at www.sos.alabama.gov.
"After the comment period is over and the vendor has been announced, there will be a major media blitz conducted by this office to explain the process and ensure that everyone who needs an ID gets a free one in order to vote," Chapman said.
"By having a multi-pronged approach, we will provide adequate places where citizens can receive a free photo voter ID. We would like for people to remember that you only need to obtain this free ID if you do not currently have a proper form of ID," Chapman said.
The State of Georgia, which has approximately 2 million more voters than the state of Alabama, implemented their photo voter ID system in 2006. In the first year, they issued 2,200 photo voter ID cards and the highest number so far was issued in 2008 at 12,332. In 2012 4,490 cards were issued.
"This is something that the legislature passed that I have been in favor of for a long time. I believe the citizens of Alabama and their vote will be better protected under this new law," Chapman said.