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Breaking down the 6 Alabama constitutional amendments on the Nov. 3 ballot

You will see six statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Posted: Oct 30, 2020 6:21 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2020 8:23 PM

If you have not voted yet, you will notice six statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot when you go to your polling place on Tuesday. 

There are state issues to consider this election. 

Amendment 1:

It would change the wording in Article VIII in the state constitution. Instead of stating every citizen of the United States has the right to vote, it would read only citizens of the United States have the right to vote.

Dr. Waymon Burke, a political science instructor at Calhoun College said many experts believe voter fraud is not an issue with the current language.

"It is stronger language, and I guess it leaves no uncertainty that only people who are actually U.S. citizens can vote," Burke said. 

How it appears 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.

Amendment 2:

This amendment would affect the state court system. The biggest change includes who appoints the director of the administrative office of courts. Right now, it is the chief justice. 

If this amendment passes, it would be the nine justices on the Alabama Supreme Court.

"In essence, it takes away a little bit of power from the chief justice and shares it with the other justices," Burke said.

How to appears 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; 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.

Amendment 3: 

It expands the time an appointed judge can serve from one to two years before required to run for election.

"And this is just about how long they can serve without having to vote," Burke said. "Alabama is one of a few states that actually elects judges. Many other states have other methods."

How it appears 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.

Amendment 4:

This amendment tackles the state constitution. It seeks to remove the racist language. Even though it is now illegal, language defending segregation still remains in the constitution. 

If amendment 4 passes, state lawmakers would rework the current constitution. It would then go up for a vote statewide for approval.

"Those who are opposed to constitutional change fear that this is a way to slip in the back door of constitutional change because it talks about in the amendment about restructuring the Alabama constitution," Burke said. 

How it appears 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.

Amendment 5/6:

These two are essentially the same but affect two different counties in North Alabama. Amendment 5 applies to Franklin County. Amendment 6 applies to Lauderdale County. 

It would apply the state's stand your ground law for churches in these counties.

"This would give people who encounter a criminal committing a violent act, give them some criminal and legal protection," Burke said. "But as a said before, I can't imagine a court giving civil damages to someone who invaded a church and murdered people or threatened them."

How it appears on the ballot:

Relating to Franklin 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.

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.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 242874

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31944500
Mobile19687361
Madison13065148
Tuscaloosa12983154
Montgomery12286236
Shelby1020377
Baldwin860398
Lee773566
Morgan653850
Calhoun6240119
Marshall621355
Etowah621066
Houston523038
DeKalb481336
Cullman435442
Limestone420645
St. Clair415855
Elmore404564
Lauderdale400454
Walker3634111
Talladega349054
Jackson313423
Colbert309342
Blount288840
Autauga271642
Franklin251033
Coffee242615
Dale231854
Dallas225932
Chilton221938
Russell22143
Covington218534
Escambia197931
Chambers176550
Tallapoosa175791
Pike158314
Clarke158019
Marion137936
Winston132323
Lawrence127336
Pickens122318
Geneva12138
Marengo121024
Bibb117317
Barbour117110
Butler115341
Randolph102021
Cherokee101524
Hale96131
Clay91124
Washington90919
Fayette89816
Henry8526
Lowndes79529
Monroe78711
Cleburne77114
Macon73122
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69419
Conecuh68414
Perry6846
Lamar6718
Wilcox63218
Sumter57722
Greene42418
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 356716

Reported Deaths: 4526
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby47088658
Davidson42057419
Knox18467149
Rutherford17439160
Hamilton16555152
Williamson1116779
Sumner9573136
Wilson731678
Out of TN721051
Montgomery649683
Sullivan630096
Washington5844106
Maury578367
Putnam578282
Blount540660
Madison5275110
Bradley508435
Sevier476831
Unassigned449222
Robertson371052
Tipton357738
Hamblen340860
Dyer316051
Gibson315064
Greene300672
Dickson284833
Anderson283328
Coffee277641
Bedford270130
Carter266055
Lawrence263934
Obion260449
Cumberland248536
McMinn244555
Roane230929
Warren229419
Loudon224519
Hardeman223237
Jefferson222732
Fayette219138
Weakley212636
Monroe207444
Franklin204434
Lauderdale202523
Trousdale190212
Hawkins189834
Wayne189110
Henderson181533
Macon179228
Hardin174825
Marshall171520
White170918
Carroll169234
Rhea162931
Haywood160830
Cocke159530
Lincoln157914
Cheatham155317
Overton152935
Campbell152723
Henry149317
Giles143949
Johnson141321
Smith140919
McNairy138733
Fentress118920
Lake11656
Hickman116219
Bledsoe11595
Crockett113326
DeKalb111322
Marion107719
Scott10507
Chester101120
Grainger95416
Decatur93713
Unicoi83626
Claiborne8029
Benton78714
Grundy76914
Lewis74714
Cannon7293
Morgan7096
Union7065
Humphreys6948
Jackson67510
Polk65015
Houston58620
Stewart58415
Clay54018
Sequatchie5215
Meigs48313
Perry47721
Moore3893
Pickett38413
Van Buren3482
Hancock1563

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