Today is Election Day and many will fill in the bubble for the presidential candidate of their choice and move on.
But there is much more than that on the ballot, including six statewide amendments.
What do they mean?
We've laid it out for you.
Amendment 1 would change language providing only a citizen of the U.S. has the right to vote. 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.
Amendment 2 deals with how judicial officials across the state are appointed. This amendment proposes six changes to the state’s judicial system. In summary, this amendment: provides that county district courts do not have to hold city court in a city with a population of less than 1,000; allows the Alabama Supreme Court, rather than the Chief Justice, to appoint the Administrative Director of Courts; 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); 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); prevents a judge from being automatically disqualified from holding office simply because a complaint was filed with the Judiciary Inquiry Commission; and provides that a judge can be removed from office only by the Court of the Judiciary.
Amendment 3 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. 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.
Amendment 4, if approved, allows the state legislature to recompile the state constitution and present it during the 2022 regular session before ratification by voters. 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.
Amendment 5 relates only to Franklin County and provides 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. Amendment 6 is the same as Amendment 5, but for Lauderdale County.
Here are the amendments as they will appear 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.
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; further provide for the membership of the Court of the Judiciary and further provide for the appointment of the additional members; further provide for the process of disqualifying an active judge; repeal provisions providing for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices and appellate judges and the removal for cause of the judges of the district and circuit courts, judges of the probate courts, and judges of certain other courts by the Supreme Court; delete the authority of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to appoint an Administrative Director Courts; provide the Supreme Court of Alabama with authority to appoint an Administrative Director of Courts; require the Legislature to establish procedures for the appointment of the Administrative Director of Courts; delete the requirement that a district court hold court in each incorporated municipality with a population of 1,000 or more where there is no municipal court; provide that the procedure for the filling of vacancies in the office of a judge may be changed by local constitutional amendment; delete certain language relating to the position of constable holding more than one state office; delete a provision providing for the temporary maintenance of the prior judicial system; repeal the office of circuit solicitor; and make certain nonsubstantive stylistic changes.
Relating to 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.