Voters in Alabama have approved an amendment that will allow state officials to begin drafting a recompiled version of their constitution that eliminates racist language, AP reports. The amendment will also remove language that no longer applies, and combine elements pertaining to economic development and related counties.
Since 2000, a similar measure in regards to the Alabama constitution has been brought forth to voters twice, and struck down both times. However, on Tuesday, the proposal passed with 67 percent of voters in support of the change.
AP notes that since over 1.7 million votes were cast, meaning that more than 585,000 people voted against the amendment, but there's reasonable speculation that many voters may not have known what exactly the five measures on the ballot entailed.
Approved in 1901, the Alabama constitution has been amended 948 times, and could very well stand as the longest constitution in the United States. Despite undergoing numerous updates, the document still includes language about banning mixed-race marriages and mandating school segregation though, sections that have previously been nullified. "What we are trying to do with this small measure is to bring the Alabama Constitution into the 21st century and be more reflective of who we are as a state now," Rep. Merika Coleman said, per NBC News.
The revised version will be need to approved by lawmakers before it can be considered by residents for a vote in 2022. Alabama was one of three states where voters approved measures to remove racist language from their respective constitutions, joining Utah and Nebraska.
68 percent of voters in Nebraska voted to remove language that allowed slavery to be used on people convicted of crimes while 80 percent of Utah voters approved a measure that will remove slavery language from their constitution.