A look at the amendments on the 2018 ballot

Published 6:04 pm Friday, November 2, 2018

Alabama voters will make a choice on Tuesday to add four constitutional amendments to the state’s 928-time amended 1901 Constitution.

Amendment 1 has to do with the Ten Commandments.

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“Providing for certain religious rights and liberties; authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state property and property owned or administrated by a public school or public body; and prohibiting the expenditure of public funds in defense of the constitutionality of this amendment,” according to the ballot.

This amendment would allow schools and public agencies to have the right to display the Ten Commandments in public settings.

The amendment states the displays must be “in a manner that complies with constitutional requirements.”

While the U.S. Supreme Court already has had a say in this matter, it is not clear if the state amendment would change anything if it is passed on Tuesday.

The supporters of this amendment claim the passing of this amendment would send a message of value, specifically to ones about Christianity.

Arguments against the amendment claim that this amendment will not change the law and won’t empower public agencies to do anything they can’t already do.

One of the biggest supporters of the amendment, the Ten Commandments Amendment PAC raised a reported $34,000 in support of the amendment. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center oppose it.

The second constitutional amendment has to do with abortion.

“To declare and otherwise affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion,” according to the ballot.

The amendment, if passed, would stop the state courts and legislature from expanding abortion access beyond what is currently allowed in federal law.

If Roe v Wade was ever struck down, the amendment would allow state lawmakers to have more power to restrict the procedure in most cases.

Amendment three deals with the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama.

“Relating to the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama, to specify that the congressional districts from which members are appointed continue to reflect those as constituted on January 1, 2018, to remove the State Superintendent of Education from membership, and to delete the requirement that members vacate office at the annual meeting of the board following their seventieth birthday,” according to the ballot.

The amendment would fix the state’s current congressional boundaries to determine representation on the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees.

This would happen even if the boundaries change after the 2020 census, when a congressional seat could be lost due to slow population growth.

If this is amendment is passed, a mandatory retirement age that was removed in 2016 would be removed and would take the state superintendent of education off the board.

The fourth amendment on the ballot concerns special elections.

“To provide that, if a vacancy in either the House of Representatives or the Senate occurs on or after October 1 of the third year of a quadrennium, the seat would remain vacant until a successor is elected at the next succeeding general election,” according to the ballot.

This amendment would stop special elections for any vacancies occurring 13 months before the next general election.

For example, if the amendment was in effect today, a House or Senate seat that was vacant on Oct. 1, 2017 would stay vacant through the regular legislative session, and would be filled on Nov. 6.

These four amendments will be on the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.