Read a PDF of our statement here.
LDF Files Notice of Appeal in Alabama Photo ID Case
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed a notice of appeal today in the lawsuit challenging Alabama’s racially discriminatory photo ID law.
On January 10, U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler issued a ruling dismissing LDF’s lawsuit in Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Merrill. The lawsuit—filed on behalf of Greater Birmingham Ministries, the Alabama NAACP, and individual voters—alleges that the photo ID law, which impacts over a hundred thousand registered voters, violates the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. LDF, the law firm Covington & Burling, LLP, and local attorney Mitch McGuire represent the plaintiffs.
“The Alabama legislature intentionally passed a photo ID law that makes it harder for Black and Latino people to vote, and the district court failed to recognize this,” said Deuel Ross, Counsel at LDF. “We will not let this decision deter us and will continue to fight for voters of color on appeal.”
“The hundred thousand Alabamians without photo ID deserved their day in Court,” said Scott Douglas, Executive Director of Greater Birmingham Ministries. “We will march onward alongside our allies and use all means available, including this appeal, to ensure that their voices are ultimately heard.”
“This decision is just the beginning of our fight to ensure that voters of color are able to fully participate in the democratic process free from any discriminatory barriers,” said Benard Simelton, President of the Alabama NAACP.
“We remain committed to seeking relief for Alabamians disenfranchised by this discriminatory law,” added Robert Fram of Covington and Burling.
In 2011, Alabama passed a law requiring voters to present photo identification before casting their ballots. Three years later, the photo ID law went into effect.
In 2015, LDF filed the lawsuit shortly after Alabama’s decision to partially close 31 driver’s license issuing offices for the entirety of 2016, which made it much more difficult for Black and Latino voters to obtain the most common form of photo ID.
Plaintiffs’ experts estimated that more than 100,000 Alabama voters do not have the required photo ID. Voters of color without photo ID are more likely to lack access to a vehicle, and to live below the poverty line than white voters without ID. These burdens make it extremely difficult for voters of color to get to an ID issuing office. All experts in the case, including the Secretary of State’s expert, agreed that people of color are almost two times more likely than white voters to lack photo ID. LDF’s experts also determined that the photo ID law has depressed Black voter turnout.
Read our notice of appeal here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.