Alabama voters will see on their ballots next Tuesday a proposal that grew out of concerns from Republicans about the 2020 election and changes in procedures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statewide Amendment 4 would prohibit the Legislature from changing Alabama election laws within six months of a general election.
The amendment says: “The implementation date for any bill enacted by the Legislature in a calendar year in which a general election is to be held and relating to the conduct of the general election shall be at least six months before the general election.”
Rep. Jim Carns, a Republican from Vestavia Hills, sponsored the bill that became Amendment 4. The House of Representatives passed it on a 75-24 vote last year, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats opposed. It passed the Senate 25-4. Voters have the final say on whether to add it to the state constitution.
Carns said changes in voting regulations that happened in other states in 2020, not in Alabama, gave rise to his bill. Those included policies on mail-in ballots, ballot drop-off boxes, and other issues, he said.
“It’s a very simple, straightforward bill,” Carns said. “I don’t think it’s going to change a lot of things except it will be in our constitution that election laws can’t be changed within six months of a general election.”
Carns’ bill was one of several that Republican lawmakers in Alabama proposed after the 2020 presidential election and complaints that changes in election procedures in some states stemming from the pandemic contributed to President Donald Trump’s defeat.
The Legislature approved a bill banning curbside voting and another bill that set an earlier deadline to mail an absentee ballot application.
Amendment 4 is one of 10 statewide amendments on the ballot next week.