Justice department is suing Alabama over voting issue

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 20, 2006

The U.S. Justice Department is suing Alabama. Again. Earlier this year they sued our state because our primary and runoffs were so close together that soldiers stationed overseas couldn't get absentee ballots in time to vote in the runoff.

The state legislature answered by moving the runoff. It was the right thing to do, and a move the legislature likely would have considered without federal attention to the matter.

Now, Justice is at it again. This time the suit relates to the fact that Alabama has not fully complied with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, w hich set a Jan. 1, 2006, deadline for states to implement a statewide computerized voter registration data base. Those records also must be coordinated with driver's license and Social Security records.

No doubt the act is important. But it seems the country would be better served if the Justice Department fined the state for noncompliance and set a new deadline. It would have saved money on both sides and would have been more likely to get Alabama moving a bit more quickly.

Surely, the Justice Department has more pressing issues than getting Alabama names in an electronic database. – The Star News