Alabama Segregation Reference Ban Amendment, Amendment 4 (2012)

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Amendment 4
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Alabama Constitution
Referred by:Alabama Legislature
Topic:Civil rights
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
The Alabama Segregation Reference Ban Amendment, also known as Amendment 4, was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Alabama as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was defeated.

The measure would have removed language from the Alabama Constitution that references segregation by race in schools. The measure also would have repealed Section 259, which related to poll taxes. The ballot measure was introduced during 2011 state legislative session. The proposal's formal title was Senate Bill 112.[1]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

The following are official election results:

Alabama Amendment 4
Defeatedd No1,040,98760.67%
Yes 675,064 39.33%

Results via the Alabama Secretary of State's website.

Text of measure


The synopsis of the bill, as presented to Alabama Legislature, read as follows:[2]

"This bill proposes an amendment to delete those remaining 'Jim Crow' provisions of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, which have not been expressly repealed by vote of the people."

Ballot language

The ballot language of the amendment reads:[2]

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to repeal portions of Section 256 and Amendment 111, now appearing as Section 256 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, relating to separation of schools by race and to repeal Section 259, Amendment 90, and Amendment 109, relating to the poll tax.


No ___[3]


  • State Senator Bryan Taylor said that the state deserved better than its reputation, claiming, "Like it or not, Alabama still has a reputation for racism. That seems to be what a lot of people think of when they think of Alabama."[4]
  • According to Alabama State Senate Arthur Orr, "It’s important to address this issue and show that Alabama is a much different place than it was in the past...The last time, the national news reported that Alabama had failed to reject segregation. It played into all the negative stereotypes of our state." According to reports, nothing would have changed in schools, as segregation was struck down in 1954, but Orr stated that segregation was still referenced and needed to be cleared from the books completely.[5]


  • In an e-mail to Ballotpedia before the elections, Charles Miller of the Secular Coalition for Alabama spoke for his group and stated opposition to the amendment, saying, "The Secular Coalition for Alabama lobbied in opposition to SB112 because of provisions in the bill that are not included in the ballot language. Specifically, the proposed amendment removes the right to an education for Alabama's children: '..but nothing in this Constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense..' To be clear, the no right to education "poison pill" language is a vestige of the Amendment that introduced the racist language in the first place. We want those provisions removed too, since they can still be used against children in Alabama and even to end public education."

Campaign contributions

No campaign contributions were made in favor or opposition of the measure, according to state election websites.[6]

Path to the ballot

Article XVIII of the Alabama Constitution required a three-fifths (60%) vote of the Alabama State Legislature to qualify an amendment for the ballot.

Similar measures

In 2004, state voters narrowly defeated Amendment 2 by a vote of 50.1% to 49.9%. The measure would have repealed a portion of Section 256 and Amendment 111 of the Alabama Constitution relating to separation of schools by race.

According to reports, there were some concerns among voters that certain language in the measure regarding education could have lead to higher property taxes. If courts interpreted the provision to require more spending on education, then this could have occurred, opponents argued.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was quoted as saying at the time that, "This is the most deceptive piece of legislation I have ever seen, and it is simply a fraud on the people of Alabama."

Moore stated the amendment was about school funding, not outlawing Jim Crow language.[7]

See also

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