BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) Local voting officials in Alabama are preparing for the new law requiring all voters to have photo identification.
Alabama’s voter ID law was passed in 2011 but it will go into effect for the first time with the primary election on June 3.
In response, Alabama’s chief election official, Secretary of State Jim Bennett, says registrars’ offices in every county will be offering free voter IDs, starting this week.
Patsy Clark, Chair of the Board of Registrars, said Baldwin County voting offices are getting ready for the new bill.
“In the past, people have had to show some form of ID to vote. It just hasn’t had to be a photo ID. We’re certainly not alone as a state requiring a photo ID,” said Clark.
She says they’ve already begun setting up the machines to issue the free voter ID cards.
“We’ve received phone inquiries after the media roll out from the Secretary of State’s office and most people already have an acceptable form of ID so it won’t apply to them. But if they should need the card, we’re here for them and happy to help,” Clark said.
Those without a proper ID can get one free by going to a registrars’ office with documents showing their full legal name, date of birth and address.
Daniel Todd, a Fairhope resident, agrees with the law.
“In my opinion, without a doubt you need an ID to vote so you know who’s doing the voting. There could be people voting in the place of other people and I think this would eliminate that,” said Todd.
Clark says many types of photo IDs can be used, including an Alabama driver’s license, Alabama non-driver ID, state-issued ID, federal ID, passport, Alabama college ID, military ID and employee ID from a federal, state, county or city government.
“We in every way encourage people to vote. This isn’t to discourage people to vote,” Clark said, “Sometimes the turn out in voting is disappointing to me. I’d like to see more people involved in the voting process.”
Voters who don’t have a valid photo ID to use in Alabama’s elections can get one free at county board of registrars’ offices.