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Voters OK amendment to remove racist language from state Constitution

Plus the results of other proposed amendments.

The Alabama Constitution

Alabama voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that may remove racist language from the state’s constitution. 

Amendment 4

Unofficial election results Wednesday morning showed 66.4 percent voting yes and 33.6 percent voting no. Amendment 4 will allow “a rearranged version of the state constitution” to be drafted to “remove racist language,” “remove language that is repeated or no longer applies,” “combine language related to economic development” and “combine language that relates to the same county.”

The rearranged version of the state constitution would be drafted by the state Legislature in 2022, according to the amendment, and the new draft wouldn’t become law until approved by a majority of voters.

Amendment 1

Amendment 1 changes the state’s Constitution to replace wording granting the right to vote for “every” U.S. citizen who meets the requirements to granting the right to vote to “only” those U.S. citizens who meet the requirements. It passed with 77 percent voting yes and 23 percent voting no.

Amendment 2

Amendment 2 failed to pass, with 51 percent voting no and 48.9 percent voting yes. Amendment 2 would have processed numerous changes to the state’s judicial system, including a change that would allow Alabama Supreme Court, rather than the chief justice, to appoint the administrative director of courts. 

The amendment would also have increased the Judicial Inquiry Commission from nine members to 11 and would have allowed the governor, rather than the lieutenant governor, to appoint a member of the Court of the Judiciary. 

If approved, it would also have prevented automatic disqualification from holding public offices for a judge solely because a complaint was filed with the Judiciary Inquiry Commission. Additionally, it would have provided that a judge can be removed from office only by the Court of the Judiciary. 

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The amendment drew opposition from some conservatives who worried that it would strip the power of the Legislature to impeach a judge. The Alabama Constables Association was also against the amendment, which the association said could have allowed counties to defund the positions. 

Amendment 3

Amendment 3 passed with 65 percent voting yes and 34 percent voting no. It will extend the time appointed district and circuit court judges serve. State law mandated that appointed judges serve one year, or until the end of the term of the judge whom they were appointed to replace, whichever is longer.

Amendments 5 and 6

Amendments 5 and 6 relate to Franklin and Lauderdale counties only. Both were approved by voters with 72 percent voting yes and 27 percent voting no for Amendment 5. On Amendment 6, 72 percent voted yes and 27 percent voted no.

Those amendments will add to the state constitution 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” in both of those counties.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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