MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Alabama voters will be able to vote on a recompiled, reorganized state constitution in the upcoming election.
The new recompiled constitution will remove all racist language, delete repeated provisions, and reorganize sections by county. Drafted in 1901, the Alabama State Constitution is known to be the longest in the world with nearly 1,000 amendments.
Policy analyst Mike Nicholson with Alabama Arise says the state constitution has been in need of dire changes and that it does not represent Alabama in 2022.
“Our Constitution was written in a really, you know, now we know it was written in a way to disenfranchise black people in our state and poor people in our state,” said Nicholson. “But it was written in a way to make it really difficult for anyone to do anything without approval from the state legislature.”
Examples of outdated, offensive language include:
The Legislature shall never pass any law to authorize or legalize any marriage betweenArticle IV, Section 102, Alabama State Constitution
any white person and a negro, or descendant of a negro.
The legislature shall establish, organize, and maintain a liberal system of public schools throughout the state for the benefit of the children thereof between the ages of seven andArticle XIV, Section 256, Alabama State Constitution
twenty-one years. The public school fund shall be apportioned to the several counties in
proportion to the number of school children of school age therein, and shall be so apportioned
to the schools in the districts or townships in the counties as to provide, as nearly as
practicable, school terms of equal duration in such school districts or townships. Separate
schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be
permitted to attend a school of the other race.
Lawmakers approved for the new recompiled constitution to appear on the ballot, and legislators have been pushing for this change since 2019.
Mobile native Sue Cato Winter with the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform explains how the new constitution has been written already, and it’s available for people to see before citizens place their vote.
“And what they did is they deleted all the racist language, all the illegal language,” said Winter. “And they reorganized it so that all of these amendments that we talk about are now going to fall.”
With 997 amendments, the new constitution will not be any shorter, but the language will be different and will appear to be more organized.
Nicholson says getting a recompiled state constitution are the first steps to help make Alabama a better state.
“So this, approving this change doesn’t fix all those problems,” said Nicholson. “But it does open the door. And it does put our foot on the path to creating a more equitable and more fair state and in writing some of the wrongs that our state has committed.”
Hoping this would right wrongs in the state, Winter says she’s very hopeful that enough voters will come to the polls to get the new constitution in place.
“I feel very optimistic about it,” said Winter. “We’ve been fortunate that course. Governor Ivey sent out a press release two days ago also giving her support.”
In order to vote in favor of the new constitution, voters must choose YES under “Constitution of Alabama 2022.”
For additional constitutional reform, voters will have the option to vote in favor of Amendment 10 on the ballot which will add any amendment that’s approved in the election to the new constitution.
The new, recompiled state Constitution can be viewed here: