Alabama Constitutional Amendments on 2020 ballots

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By Will Fairless
Associate Editor

On the General and Constitutional Amendment election ballots, there are six proposed amendments to appear on the ballot statewide. The “yes” or “no” that voters will submit for each is in response to the question, “Shall the following Amendments to the Constitution of Alabama be adopted?”

Statewide Amendment 1 is to Article VIII of the state’s constitution, which deals with age and citizenship qualifications of electors (some criteria for a person’s right to vote). The proposed amendment follows as it is shown on a sample ballot found on the website of the Secretary of the State.

“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. (Proposed by Act 2019-330)”

Statewide Amendment 2 is the longest of the six and deals with the makeup of the Judicial Inquiry Commission. It follows here:

“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. (Proposed by Act 2019-187”

Statewide Amendment 3 is concerning the terms of judges appointed to fill vacancies:

“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. (Proposed by Act 2019-346)”

Statewide Amendment 4 proposes that the Alabama Constitution be recompiled to be ratified again by Alabamians in 2022:

“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. (Proposed by Act 2019-271)”

Statewide Amendment 5 is about the use of deadly force in self-defense on the premises of a church under certain conditions, specific to Franklin County:

“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. (Proposed by Act 2019-194)”

Statewide Amendment 6 is about the same subject as 5, but regarding Lauderdale County:

“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. (Proposed by Act 2019-193)”

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