The Upsilon Eta Omega (UEO) Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA), Inc. connects with the Magic City Bar Association (MCBA) and the League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham (LWVGB) to host a community forum on voting Tuesday, April 8, at St. John AME Church in downtown Birmingham. The non-partisan community forum, which begins at 6 p.m., is designed to make the public aware of voter rules that are now going into effect this election cycle and are being implemented by Alabama’s Secretary of State.
The Honorable Judge Alan L. King, Chief Elections Officer of Jefferson County, President of the Probate Judges Association of Alabama, and Probate Judge of Jefferson County, is the guest speaker. Much of the non-partisan community forum is expected to focus on implementation procedures for the new requirement that the voter must present a valid form of photo identification in order to vote. The forum is free and open to the public.
The event will also include voter registration. The Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizen Services (JCOSC) will take photos of senior citizens 60 years or older who need photo IDs under Alabama’s new law that now require them for voting.
The new voting regulations were passed by the Alabama legislature in 2013. Photo voter identification will be required for the first time at the Alabama party primary elections on June 3,2014. Many citizens, particularly in low-income and elderly populations, do not have a valid driver’s license or other photo identification. These citizens will be required to obtain acceptable photo voter identification before they will be allowed to vote. The voting rules state that free photo identification will be provided by the state of Alabama to any voter who does not have one and who meets certain criteria.
In 2003, voters were first required to present valid identification in order to vote. Those regulations provided an extensive list of allowed identification. Acceptable forms of identification included such items as a current driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement, social security card, Medicaid or Medicare card, and several state and federally issued government licenses. Many of the previously accepted forms of identification do not show a photograph of the person identified. Today, photo identification is required under the new regulations.
Ida Tyree Hyche, Chair, Connection Committee of Upsilon Eta Omega, AKA, says, “Our chapter’s goal is to be a communications instrument in connecting the community with informed resources about the new law so they will be ready on June 3rd. We want to make sure that all
voters have the valid ID they need when they go to the polls. If a senior citizen, age 60 years and older, does not have a valid ID, we are connecting with Ms. Derry Johnson, Interim Director of Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens Services, to assist the senior citizen in getting that photo ID before voting day.” “During the forum, we are prepared to take senior citizens photos for qualifying persons,” continued Tyree-Hyche.
“Dr. W E B DuBois once stated ‘the power of the ballot, we need in sheer defense, else what shall save us from a second slavery?’” says O. Tameka Wren, President of the MCBA, “We do not want the voter photo ID requirements to deter citizens from voting; therefore, we want to devote time discussing the importance of voting during this community forum.”
Nancy Sales, Voter Service Chairperson of the LWVGB, said “We are particularly concerned for the rights of those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved groups, including first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities, the elderly and low-income citizens in our communities. We want to ensure that they have the opportunity and information they need to exercise their right to vote. We encourage all eligible voters to become educated about these new voting requirements.”
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA) is an international service organization that was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-lettered organization established by African-American college-educated women. Alpha Kappa Alpha is comprised of a nucleus of 260,000 members in graduate and undergraduate chapters in the United States, the U. S. Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, Canada, Japan, Germany, Korea and on the continent of Africa. Its membership is comprised of distinguished women who boast excellent academic records, proven leadership skills, and are involved in the global community through advocacy and service. Alpha Kappa Alpha has dedicated itself to improving the quality of life for citizens worldwide and promoting peace.
Upsilon Eta Omega Chapter’s mission is to service the Birmingham Metro Area and Fairfield community by providing community based programs.
Saint John African Methodist Episcopal Church is located at 708 – 15th Street, North, downtown, Birmingham.
Learn more about the Non-Partisan Community Forum on Voting at:
- www.upsilonetaomega.com; the Facebook page of Upsilon Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; @UpsilonEtaOmega on Twitter; and
- The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham at http://www.lwvgb.org. Follow LWVGB in social media: LWVGB on Facebook, @LWVGB on Twitter.