Constitutional amendments on the ballot in Alabama explained

State amendments on ballot

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama voters will be going to the polls a week from Tuesday and you’ll be deciding on more than just candidates. You will also have choices to make on constitutional amendments, one of which deals with racist language.

Voters could just cast their vote for candidates and leave, but there are a total of six constitutional amendments. They deal with a variety of issues from racist language to how the court system is run to who can vote in Alabama.

Amendment 1 calls for changes in the constitution saying only citizens have a right to vote. Not every citizen can vote. “There have been challenges in other states and that’s why we want to clear it up that a citizen means a U.S. citizen in our voting process,” Sen. Del Marsh of Anniston said.

Amendment 2 deals with selecting the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts by the state’s supreme court justices rather than just the chief justice. In addition, the Judicial Inquiry Commission to investigate judges would increase from 9 to 11 members. The commission investigated and removed former Chief Justice Roy Moore twice.

Amendment 3 expands the time an appointed judge can serve from one to two years before being required to run for election.

Amendment 4 seeks to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution. Even though it’s now illegal and meaningless, there remains racist language in Alabama’s Constitution defending segregation.

"We absolutely committed to equal treatment under the law and racist language is never appropriate,” Eunie Smith of Eagle Forum of Alabama said.

But, Eagle Forum of Alabama is recommending voters vote no on amendment 4. Why? They fear lawmakers could make changes to the constitution infringing on individual rights and taxes. “The people won’t know what has happened to the constitution. The legislature itself won’t know if it makes comprehensive changes,” Smith said.

If voters approved Amendment 4, it will return to the Alabama Legislature for a rewrite in 2022. If lawmakers approve the new language, it will be sent back to voters again for another vote.

The advice to you is do a little research on each amendment and have your decision made up by the time you go to the polls.

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