I dislike early voting.
I oppose it for many reasons. Things change in the race as new info becomes available and, as we will learn this year, it creates a hassle, room for fraud and opportunities for legal wrangling.
But, I thought I would vote early this year.
I was already decided on all the candidates, and I knew the amendments pretty well.
Or so I thought.
As part of my daily radio program, “The Dale Jackson Show” on WVNN, I get to interview lawmakers and decision-makers on a regular basis and get to pick their brains about individual issues.
A few weeks back, State Senator Sam Givhan (R-Madison) and I were discussing the constitutional amendments on the ballot, and I expressed that I was a “NO” on Amendment 4.
Givhan told me as time was running out that we need to discuss that further, so I agreed to do so at a later date. That time came this week, and now I would like to change my “NO” to a “YES.”
I can’t, obviously, but I would like to.
Amendment 4 is worded as follows:
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.
In plain English, it says: Alabama’s constitution can be changed only during a constitutional convention or when a majority of voters approve a constitutional amendment.
If a majority of voters vote “YES” on Amendment 4, the Alabama Legislature, when it meets in 2022, would be allowed to draft a rearranged version of the state constitution. This draft could only (1) remove racist language, (2) remove language that is repeated or no longer applies, (3) combine language related to economic development, and (4) combine language that relates to the same county. No other changes could be made.
I was mistaken when I believed that a rewrite of the constitution would open the door to long-desired changed from the more liberal members of Alabama’s legislature.
They have wanted to change the way taxes are raised in the state for at least the last 20 years.
Sure, they cloak it in “the Alabama Legislature is too long” and “there is racist language in the Constitution,” but the end game is a rewrite, and I am always out on that.
I don’t care how long the document is. Attempts to remove racist language in the past was fought by black leaders.
But as I raised these issues to Givhan about the rewrite, it was clear I had made a mistake, and he set me straight and the impact of that language is non-existent in 2020.
As Givhan explained this week on “The Dale Jackson Show” what the bill does, I knew I made a mistake.
“Number one, this gives us the authority to do what for the large part has actually already been done as far as reorganizing it,” Givhan advised.
He added, “This is not going to change the way we do our taxes. We’re limited in what we can do and the voters will have another check on that and we’ll also have to have a super majorities of both the house and the senate to pass this move to recompile the constitution.”
My reasons for being a “NO” vote were a mistake. I cast a bad vote, but I can’t take it back.
The best I can do is tell other people I made a mistake and hope they cancel me out.
So, vote YES on Amendment 4 on Tuesday!
Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN.