• Our 360 Staff

Amendments to state constitution on Nov. 3 ballot

Ballot Breakdown by Our 360 News

Alabama voters will see a familiar section at the end of the ballot this November-statewide constitutional amendments. Six proposed amendments will appear on the ballot. Voters will select either Yes or No, with a majority required in order for the measure to pass.

Here's a breakdown of what you will see:

Proposed Amendment 1

Sponsored by: Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston

What you'll see on the ballot: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to amend Article VIII of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 177 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to provide that only a citizen of the United States has the right to vote."

What does this mean: It's the difference between the words every and only. Currently, Alabama’s state constitution grants every U.S. citizen who meets certain requirements the right to vote. Changing this word to only allows the state to be exclusive in permitting just those who meet the requirements the right to vote, and no one else. No wording current or proposed in the Alabama constitution gives non-citizens the right to vote.

Proposed Amendment 2

Sponsored by: Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur

What you'll see on the ballot: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to increase the membership of the Judicial Inquiry Commission and further provide for the appointment of the additional members..." (see full text)

What does this mean: It's about who has authority, space, size, and complaints. If Amendment 2 received a majority “yes” vote, the Alabama Supreme Court would be tasked with appointing the Administrator of Courts. This authority would be expanded to all justices and not solely the decision of the Chief Justice. Second, county district courts would no longer have to also have city courts in municipalities with less than 1,000 people. Third, the Judicial Inquiry Commission would increase from 9 to 11 members. Lastly, judges would no longer automatically be disqualified from holding office simply because a complaint was filed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission; only the Court of the Judiciary could remove them.

Proposed Amendment 3

Sponsored by: Rep. David Faulkner, R-Hoover

What you'll see on the ballot: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a judge, other than a judge of probate, appointed to fill a vacancy would serve an initial term until the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January following the next general election after the judge has completed two years in office."

What does this mean: It's about adding time before a fill-in's election. Currently, circuit and district judges serve for one year, or the remainder of the original term, whichever is longer. If a majority vote "yes" this amendment would extend the initial term of judges to at least two years before they must appear on a ballot for election.

Proposed Amendment 4

Sponsored by: Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Pleasant Grove

What you'll see on the ballot: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the Legislature to recompile the Alabama Constitution and submit it during the 2022 Regular Session, and provide a process for its ratification by the voters of this state."

What does this mean: It's about organization and racist language. Alabama's approximately 900 amendments make it one of the longest constitutions currently known. This amendment would allow the legislature to draft a version that removes racist language and redundancies, combines language related to the same county, and combines language related to economic development in an effort to make the constitution readable. Voters would then vote on the draft sometime after the 2022 legislative session. The conservative group Eagle Forum also supports the measure.

Proposed Amendment 5 and 6

Sponsored by: Rep. Jamie Kiel, R-Franklin County; Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Lauderdale County

What you'll see on the ballot: Same language, different counties; "Relating to [Franklin County/Lauderdale County], proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person is not liable for using deadly physical force in self-defense or in the defense of another person on the premises of a church under certain conditions."

What does this mean: It's about expanding 'stand your ground' and churches. Alabama has a 'stand your ground' law on the books that implicitly applies to churches. The proposed amendments would explicitly state that stand your ground applies to churches in Franklin County (5) and Lauderdale County (6) and define premises and deadly force at those spaces in the state constitution. The measure would only apply to the respective counties. In order to pass, both the majority of Alabama voters and the majority of voters in Franklin County (5), Lauderdale County (6) would have to vote "yes."

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