Election Day is on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and candidates aren't the only thing Alabama will decide on. This election has ten amendments to vote on and a new constitution to ratify. Below is an explanation of all the amendments and the new constitution.
New State Constitution
A vote to ratify a new state constitution will be at the top of this election's amendment section, located in the bottom right corner of the ballot. Coming in at approximately 400,000 words, the Alabama constitution is the longest in the world.
The Alabama Constitution of 2022 attempts to remove racist language, group similar topics together and make the governing document easier to read. It will also group economic development policies and local policies by county.
For example, Sec. 256 of the Constitution of 1901 codifies segregation in schools, and Sec. 102 codifies miscegenation, making it illegal to marry someone of a different race. Neither policy appears in the new version.
However, the new constitution keeps, "nothing in this constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense," in Sec. 256. This clause was added in response to the 1956 Supreme Court verdict in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional.
The new constitution also keeps the 2006 Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, which makes it unconstitutional for Alabama to recognize or perform same-sex marriages.
The precedent set in the Supreme Court verdict in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 protects same-sex marriages in every state. Should this case be overturned, past same-sex marriages in Alabama automatically nullify, and future marriages cannot occur.
Yes: Supports replacing the Alabama Constitution of 1901 with the Alabama Constitution of 2022.
No: Supports keeping the Alabama Constitution of 1901 in place.
Amendment I “Aniah’s Law”
“Aniah’s Law” allows judges to prevent those charged with violent crimes from obtaining bail. This amendment receives its name from Aniah Blanchard, 19, whose disappearance and subsequent murder was allegedly conducted by Ibraheem Yazeed, 30, who was out on bail at the time of the crime.
Yes: Supports adding a specific list of violent crimes that, if charged with, can prevent the suspect from obtaining bail.
No: Supports that, before a person is convicted, they will be granted bail, “except for a capital offense.”
Amendment 2 allows the state, any county and any city or town to use federal or state funds to support "expanding access to high-speed internet (broadband)." If passed, municipalities in Alabama will be permitted to pay public or private companies and organizations for internet infrastructure developments.
Since 2018, Gov. Kay Ivey has passed a slew of policies designed to expand access to the internet across the state. One such policy is the Connect Alabama Act of 2021, establishing the Connect Alabama Fund. The fund was created to pay for infrastructure projects improving Alabamian internet access.
According to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the organization responsible for overseeing internet access projects, 72% of the state has access to broadband as defined by the Federal Communications Commission, or 25/3 megabits per second.
Yes: Supports allowing state, county, city or town governments to pay private and public organizations for internet infrastructure development.
No: Supports preventing state, county, city or town governments from paying private and public organizations for internet infrastructure development.
Amendment 3 requires the governor to notify the state attorney general and a victim's family if the governor decides to postpone or stop the execution of someone convicted of a capital crime. The amendment also allows the execution to continue, on schedule, if the governor fails to do so. However, the amendment does not provide a time by which the governor must notify the attorney general or victims' families.
Yes: Supports requiring the governor to notify the state attorney general and the victim's family if they postpone or cancel an execution order.
No: Supports not requiring the governor to notify anyone if they postpone or cancel an execution order.
Amendment 4 prevents the state’s Legislature from enacting a bill that impacts the conduct of a general election if an election happens within six months. Effectively, the Legislature cannot pass election-related policies after May 8 in an election year.
Yes: Supports preventing the Legislature from enacting bills within six months of a general election.
No: Supports allowing the Legislature to enact bills within six months of a general election.
Amendment 5 deletes the term “orphans’ business” from the Alabama Constitution.
Yes: Supports removing the term “orphans’ business” from the Alabama Constitution.
No: Supports keeping the term “orphans’ business” in the Alabama Constitution.
Amendment 6 permits cities and towns that are legally allowed to collect "a special property tax" to use those funds in their "pay-as-you-go" system. The pay-as-you-go system allows local governments to pay for infrastructure projects directly instead of going into debt and paying off the debt after.
Yes: Supports allowing local governments to continue using the “pay-as-you-go” system.
No: Supports preventing local government from using the “pay-as-you-go" system.
Amendment 7 extends the right some counties have to use public funds to sell public property, lend credit and go into debt for economic development to all counties, cities and towns. Additionally, the amendment requires the governing body responsible for the transaction to announce the transaction in any newspaper in circulation in the county, city or town. Currently, they must use the newspaper with the highest circulation in the county, city or town.
Yes: Supports allowing all counties, cities and towns to use public funds to sell public property, lend credit and go into debt for economic development. It also supports requiring the governing body responsible for the transaction to notify the public in any newspaper in circulation in the county, city or town affected.
No: Supports withholding the power to use public funds to sell property, lend credit and go into debt for economic development from all counties, cities and towns. It also keeps the requirement of the governing body responsible for the transaction to notify the public using the newspaper with the highest circulation in their county, city or town.
Amendments 8 and 9
Amendments 8 and 9 are county-specific amendments. Amendment 8 brings privately owned sewer systems in Shelby County into the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission. Amendment 9 does the same to privately owned sewer systems within Lake View city limits. Both amendments only apply to systems that use public rights of way.
Yes on 8 and 9: Supports bringing some privately owned sewer systems in Shelby County and within Lake View city limits into the jurisdiction of the PSC.
No on 8 and 9: Supports keeping some privately owned sewer systems out of the jurisdiction of the PSC.
Amendment 10 allows the amendments passed during this year’s election to be included in the new state constitution.
Yes: Supports including the amendments passed in this year’s election in the new constitution.
No: Supports preventing the amendments passed in this year’s election from being included in the new constitution.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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Ethan Flynn, freshman in journalism and finance, is a news writer at The Plainsman.