By Josh Moon
Alabama voters can now register to vote online.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill announced the change at a press conference Monday morning.
Voters can submit their registration form online at www.alabamavotes.gov, but the registration will require a valid Alabama drivers license or state-issued photo ID. Photo ID isn't required to register in person or when mailing in a paper registration form, but is required when voting at the polls.
"Upon entering office, I looked for ways to make it easier for our citizens to register to vote," Merrill said. "Based on that, I instructed our Information Technology and Elections staff to provide Alabamians an enhanced access to voter registration services at the least cost to the state while also ensuring that the integrity standards we have are continued and strengthened."
The change in registration access comes three months after the U.S. Department of Justice revealed it had threatened to sue the state for failing to adhere with a 22-year-old federal law requiring states to make drivers license applications double as voter registration.
In mid-November, Alabama and the DOJ entered into an agreement that outlined a number of steps the state would take to come into compliance with the law. Online registration, which Merrill said was already being implemented at the time of the DOJ's threat, was one of those steps.
"The DOJ folks were, quite frankly, surprised by how far along in the process we were," Merrill said. "This will be a huge step forward for us and make it easier for a number of people to vote."
(c)2016 the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Ala.)