Alabama Secret Ballot Amendment, Amendment 7 (2012)

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Amendment 7
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Alabama Constitution
Referred by:Alabama Legislature
Topic:Labor
Status:On the ballot
The Alabama Secret Ballot Amendment, also known as Amendment 7, was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Alabama as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure would guarantee the right to a secret ballot in votes of employee representation and public votes on referenda and public office. The measure was introduced during 2011 state legislative session.[1]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

The following are unofficial election results:

Alabama Amendment 7
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 740,690 68.18%
No345,73431.82%


32 out of 67 precincts reporting

Results via the Alabama Secretary of State's website.

Text of measure

Ballot language

The ballot language that voters will see on the ballot reads as follows:[2]

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to amend Amendment 579 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 177 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to provide that the right of individuals to vote for public office, public votes on referenda, or voters on employee representation by secret ballot is fundamental.

Yes ___

No ___[3]

Support

  • The main sponsors of the measure were Kurt Wallace, Joseph Lister Hubbard, Becky Nordgren, and Victor Gaston, among others.[4]
  • Sponsor Kurt Wallace stated about the measure, "We should be free to go to work and not be harassed about whether we want unions or not...If you come to Alabama, you are not going to be forced to be union. We will let the people decide."[5]
    • Wallace later stated, "We all believe we have a right to cast a ballot without intimidation and coercion from anybody – except if a union comes in. Everything is secret ballot but that.”[6]
  • Quin Hillyer is a Senior Fellow for the Center for Individual Freedom and a Senior Editor for The American Spectator: "Unfortunately, the ballot language is absurdly confusing. It is a mish-mash of references to "Amendment 579 to the Alabama Constitution of 1901, now appearing as Section 177 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution...." Only in the last line does it specify that the goal is to protect "employee representation by secret ballot." The result of this amendment would be far clearer than its language. In directly protecting what the amendment calls the "fundamental right" to a secret ballot, state House Speaker Mike Hubbard said Amendment 7 also would at least indirectly "help ensure that Alabama remains a right-to-work state for years and years to come." And, as the federal judge in Arizona's ruling indicates, there is a good chance that such an amendment could withstand court scrutiny."[7]

Opposition

  • The AFL-CIO of Alabama is against the measure.[6]
  • House Democrats have argued that it's not government's job to mandate how elections are done in a business.[8]
  • Al Henley, president of the Alabama AFL-CIO, stated, "The measure would give companies more control over an already corporate-dominated system in which workers who want to form unions are harassed, intimidated and threatened by corporations that want to deny them their rights."[5]

Path to ballot

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

The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee approved of sending the measure to the Alabama House of Representatives for debate and vote during the month of March 2011. On March 9, 2011, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to approve the amendment with a tally of 63-31. This sent the proposal to the Alabama State Senate where it faced a similar vote before going on to the 2012 ballot.[1][8]

The measure was passed during the last day of the 2011 state legislative session, officially sending it to the ballot in 2012 for public vote.[9]

See also

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References