Alabama Republicans Pass Bills That Encourage ’Voter Suppression’ And Ban DEI Programs

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Republicans in Alabama are pushing forward with their culture war initiatives.

On Tuesday, state lawmakers approved a bill prohibiting paid assistance with absentee ballot applications and another restricting diversity, equity and inclusion programs at state agencies and universities. 

The two bills will now go to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.

According to AP, the absentee voting bill would make it a misdemeanor to give voters pre-filled absentee ballot applications or to turn in another voter’s completed application. The bill also makes it a felony to receive a payment or gift “for distributing, ordering, requesting, collecting, completing, prefilling, obtaining, or delivering a voter’s absentee ballot application.”

Republicans claim the bill is aimed at controlling “Ballot harvesting.”

“Our elections are the foundation of our constitutional republic, and nobody should be paid for their absentee application or their ballot, Secretary of State Wes Allen wrote in a press release. “Ballot harvesting should not be a job description.”

But state Democrats and advocates pushed back, calling the bill a desperate attempt to make it harder for people to vote. 

“It’s just another voter suppression,” Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton told AP. “ It’s just a means of suppressing certain people from having the ability and right to access to the free-flowing of the vote.”

Jerome Dees, Alabama policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, also spoke to AP about the bill, calling it “cruel legislation aims to criminalize the charitable acts of good Samaritans across the state, whether from neighbors, church members, nursing home staffers, or prison chaplains.”

Republicans didn’t stop at restricting voting rights, they also set their sights on demolishing DEI efforts, which conservatives all over the country have made a priority. 

According to AP, the Alabama bill would prohibit universities, K-12 school systems and state agencies from sponsoring DEI programs, which the bill defines as any program, class, training, seminar, or other event where attendance is based on an individual’s race, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, or sexual orientation.

The bill also prohibits any university or agency from requiring “its students, employees, or contractors to attend or participate in any diversity, equity, and inclusion program or any training, orientation, or course work that advocates for or requires assent to a divisive concept.”

The bill’s vague language on gender identity and restrooms is also alarming. According to the legislation, the bill would “require public institutions of higher education to designate restrooms on the basis of biological sex; and to authorize certain penalties for violation.”

Click here if you would like to read the entire bill.


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The post Alabama Republicans Pass Bills That Encourage ’Voter Suppression’ And Ban DEI Programs appeared first on NewsOne.

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