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The Department of Transportation Is Now Investigating Alabama's DMV Closings

The federal agency is looking into the closing of more than 30 DMV offices to determine whether there’s a discriminatory effect on African Americans seeking licenses.
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AP Photo/David Bundy

When Alabama elected to close more than 30 locations where drivers license services were offered, most of them in predominantly African-American counties, it sounded alarms in the civil rights community. There was genuine concern about how the closings would affect black people in these mostly rural counties, given that you now need a state-issued photo ID to vote in Alabama, and a drivers license generally serves that purpose.

But another problem with the closings is that it has reduced opportunities for African Americans in these areas—some of the poorest counties in the state—to get the licenses they need to drive to jobs, schools and other locations. Which is why the U.S. Department of Transportation has decided to step in to investigate to determine if the closings constitute a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and possible discrimination against African Americans.