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SIX STATEWIDE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ON THE NOVEMBER 3 GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT

Friday, October 9, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Six statewide constitutional amendments will appear on the ballot when voters go to the polls during the November 3 general election.

Because many of our members are avoiding in-person voting and choosing, instead, to cast absentee ballots, we have obtained the plain-spoken explanations of each amendment to help you make your decision in the referendum elections.

Alabama’s Fair Ballot Commission, which was created by the Legislature in 2014, is tasked with providing citizens with a “fair and accurate explanation of what a vote for and what a vote against a statewide ballot measure represents.”

The commission is also required to provide the public with easy-to-understand summaries of each referendum item, and they must avoid the legal and technical terms often included in the actual text of an amendment.

Members of the Fair Ballot Commission released explanations for the six statewide amendments on the November 3 ballot, and they are provided below:

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT #1

The state constitution grants the right to vote to U.S. citizens who meet certain requirements. This amendment does not change those requirements.

If a majority of voters vote “yes” for Amendment 1, the state constitution will grant the right to vote to “only” those U.S. citizens who meet the requirements.

If a majority of voters vote “no” for Amendment 1, the state constitution will continue to grant the right to vote to “every” U.S. citizen who meets the requirements.

There is no cost for Amendment 1.

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT #2

This amendment proposes six changes to the state’s judicial system. In summary, this amendment:

1. Provides that county district courts do not have to hold city court in a city with a population of less than 1,000;

2. Allows the Alabama Supreme Court, rather than the Chief Justice, to appoint the Administrative Director of Courts;

3. Increases from 9 to 11 the total membership of the Judicial Inquiry Commission and determines who appoints each member (the Judicial Inquiry Commission evaluates ethics complaints filed against judges);

4. Allows the Governor, rather than the Lieutenant Governor, to appoint a member of the Court of the Judiciary (the Court of the Judiciary hears complaints filed by the Judicial Inquiry Commission);

5. Prevents a judge from being automatically disqualified from holding office simply because a complaint was filed with the Judiciary Inquiry Commission; and

6. Provides that a judge can be removed from office only by the Court of the Judiciary.

If a majority of voters vote “yes” on Amendment 2, these provisions become law.

If a majority of voters vote “no” on Amendment 2, there will be no change to current law.

There is no cost for Amendment 2.

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT #3

This amendment changes the initial term of a judge that is appointed to fill a vacancy due to death, resignation, retirement, or removal. The current law and this proposed amendment do not apply to probate judges.

Under current law, the initial term of office for a person appointed to fill a vacancy in a judgeship shall last until the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January following the next general election held after the person has completed one year in office or the remainder of the original term of the judge elected to the office which is vacant, whichever is longer. The term of the appointment could vary widely due to the years left in the original term. At the election, the judicial office shall be filled for a full term.

Under this amendment, a judge appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve an initial term lasting until the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January following the next general election held after the person has completed two years in office. At the election, the judicial office shall be filled for a full term.

If the majority of the voters vote “yes” on Amendment 3, the initial appointment to fill a judicial vacancy will last until the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January after two years of service before a general election to fill the judicial office.

If the majority of the voters vote “no” on Amendment 3, then the length of appointment to fill a judicial vacancy will not change.

There is no cost to Amendment 3.

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT #4

Alabama’s constitution can be changed only during a constitutional convention or when a majority of voters approve a constitutional amendment.

If a majority of voters vote “yes” on Amendment 4, the Alabama Legislature, when it meets in 2022, would be allowed to draft a rearranged version of the state constitution. This draft could only (1) remove racist language, (2) remove language that is repeated or no longer applies, (3) combine language related to economic development, and (4) combine language that relates to the same county. No other changes could be made.

Even if passed by the Alabama Legislature, this rearranged version would not become law until it was approved by a majority of voters.

If a majority of voters vote “no” on Amendment 4, the Alabama Legislature could not draft a rearranged version of the state constitution.

There is no cost for Amendment 4.

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT #5

Alabama’s “Stand Your Ground” law allows a person to legally use physical force against another person under certain conditions. The law does not require the person to retreat before using physical force.

If a majority of voters in Alabama vote “yes” on Amendment 5, and if, in addition, a majority of voters in Franklin County vote “yes” on Amendment 5, the state constitution would contain a special “Stand Your Ground” law that applies to churches in Franklin County only.

If a majority of voters in Alabama vote “no” on Amendment 5, or, if a majority of voters in Franklin County vote “no” on Amendment 5, the state constitution would not contain a special “Stand Your Ground” law that applies to churches in Franklin County.

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT #6

Alabama’s “Stand Your Ground” law allows a person to legally use physical force against another person under certain conditions. The law does not require the person to retreat before using physical force.

If a majority of voters in Alabama vote “yes” on Amendment 6, and if, in addition, a majority of voters in Lauderdale County vote “yes” on Amendment 6, the state constitution would contain a special “Stand Your Ground” law that applies to churches in Lauderdale County only.

If a majority of voters in Alabama vote “no” on Amendment 6, or, if a majority of voters in Lauderdale County vote “no” on Amendment 6, the state constitution would not contain a special “Stand Your Ground” law that applies to churches in Lauderdale County.




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