“DOJ: Witness requirement on Alabama absentee ballots not Voting Rights violation”

Montgomery Advertiser:

The U.S. Department of Justice argued in a brief filed Tuesday that Alabama’s current requirement to have witnesses sign an absentee ballot is not a violation of the Voting Rights Act. 

The brief, filed in a lawsuit that seeks to loosen Alabama’s strict absentee ballot requirements amid the COVID-19 outbreak, says that state law requiring the signature of witnesses to an absentee ballot does not violate the law’s ban on obstacles to voting, particularly a ban on pre-civil rights era practices that required testimony from other voters that a voter had the qualifications to cast a ballot.

“It is not a literacy test, it is not an educational requirement, and it is not a moral character requirement,” said the brief, signed by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Jay Town. “Nor, contrary to Plaintiffs’ position, is it a voucher requirement prohibited by Section 201’s fourth and final provision.”

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