Alabama voters will consider four statewide amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot, including Amendment 4 which, if approved, will save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Amendment 4 would eliminate costly special elections when a regularly scheduled election is imminent, said the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Matthew Durdin. Right now, law requires the governor to call a special election to fill legislative seats vacated due to death or resignation, even if there are only a few months remaining in the term, said Durdin, who is the organization’s External Affairs director.
“Each legislative special election costs from $90,000 to $900,000 per county, based on the number of voters and polling locations,” Durdin said. “These sometimes occur when candidates already have qualified for the next general election or when the Legislature is not scheduled to meet again before the end of the term.”
Money spent on late-term special elections could be used for other services important to Alabama taxpayers. In addition, back-to-back balloting can confuse voters, Durdin said.
In recent years, there’s been cases where candidates won a special election and immediately begin campaigning for a regular primary election soon after.
The Federation is recommending “yes” votes on Amendments 1,2 and 4, and is “neutral” on Amendment 3.
Amendment 1 would authorize the display of the Ten Commandments on state property and property owned or administrated by a public school or school body. AFF Supports
Amendment 2 would affirm the state’s right to recognize and support the sanctity of an unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful, adding that the state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion. AFF Supports
Amendment 3 addresses the University of Alabama board of trustees. The proposal would require the board to continue to be made of members of congressional districts as drawn Jan. 1, 2018. It also stipulates the removal of the state superintendent of education from automatic membership on the board and removes the requirement that board members retire when they turn 70. AFF Neutral
Amendment 4 would allow Alabama Senate and House of Representatives seats to remain open if vacated on or after Oct. 1 of the third year of a four-year term. The longest a
seat would remain vacant would be 14 months. The amendment only applies to legislative seats. The governor would still
be required to schedule special elections for vacancies occurring earlier in a term. AFF Supports