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ALEA changes day for local driver’s license office

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has changed the day that it will open its satellite office in Butler County.

ALEA originally announced that the Butler County office would be open the fourth Thursday of each month. It will now be open the second Monday of each month.

The Butler County office, along with 32 other satellite offices, was closed on Oct. 1 following an $11 million cut to ALEA’s budget.

The decision to close the offices, which ALEA said handled only about 8,000 license transactions out of 1.2 million last year, was met with opposition from some lawmakers, like Sen. Hank Sanders and U.S Rep. Terri Sewell.

Both said it would make it more difficult for citizens in the state’s poorest region to secure the proper identification for voting because driver’s licenses are the most commonly used form of identification used under the state’s photo voter ID law.

Secretary of State John Merrill, the state’s chief election official, said the closings would not impact anyone’s ability to vote because voter ID cards would be available at each county’s Board of Registrars office.

Whether it impacted voting or not, it put a strain on residents in more rural counties.

While those with a driver’s license could still renew their license at the Probate Office, new licenses had to be obtained at one of 12 district offices across the state.

The outcry from lawmakers and residents in the impacted counties led officials to reopen 30 of the 33 offices that were closed.

“We will just see what the needs are,” Bentley said f the once-a-month plan. “Some of the areas really don’t need it more than that. We’ll decide if others need it more than that and we’ll try to adjust as needed.”

The Butler County office, which reopened on Monday, will be is located at 101 S. Conecuh St.