Election workers go back to work

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004

A statewide constitutional amendment that could have easily passed on Nov. 2 is now causing county workers all over the state to begin counting ballots.

During the general election, Alabama voters were asked to vote “Yes” or “No” to Amendment 2, which was originally designed to take segregation-era language out of the state’s legal document. Before the amendment made it to the ballot, however, some of the language in the bill was changed from its original intent, causing a firestorm of controversy.

The last-minute change to the amendment removed language from the bill that all but guaranteed that education was a right to young people in the state. If the amendment would have passed, there could have been opportunity for an activist judge to rule that Alabama mandates that all schools – whether in Mountain Brook or Marengo County – receive the same funding, even if it meant taking money away from richer school systems and giving it to poorer systems.

That change in the amendment language resulted in one of the closest vote counts the state of Alabama has ever seen and, earlier this week, Secretary of State Nancy Worley officially declared that a recount would be held.

According to Marengo County Circuit Clerk Rusty Nichols, the recount will be held in the Marengo County Courthouse beginning Monday, Nov. 29, in Courtroom 2. The recount will begin at 8 a.m.

Amendment 2 lost at the polls by 1,850 votes, which is .13 percent of the total votes cast in the Nov. 2 election.

Along with Marengo County, poll workers in Greene, Hale, Sumter and Perry counties will join workers in all 67 counties to recount the votes.

After the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, many states changed their voting procedures and made provisions for recounts.

According to Alabama’s new recount law, any election that has a vote difference of less than one-half of a percent is subject to a recount. Such is the case with the Amendment 2 vote.