Voting laws and appointment authority on the Dec. 10 ballot in Louisiana

Welcome to the Friday, December 9, Brew. 

By: Douglas Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Louisiana voters will decide three constitutional amendments on Dec. 10
  2. On this date in 1969, Alabamans decided 28 constitutional amendments
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many state legislative incumbents lost in general elections (so far)?

Louisiana voters to decide three constitutional amendments on Dec. 10

Just how many elections can we squeeze into 2022? One more in Louisiana, at least!

Tomorrow, Dec. 10, voters in the Pelican State will return to the polls for their general election. In addition to a handful of candidates, three constitutional amendments will appear on this ballot, as well.

Here’s a quick look:

Amendment 1 would prohibit local governments from allowing noncitizens to vote. Currently, the state constitution says, “Every citizen of the state, upon reaching eighteen years of age, shall have the right to register and vote.” This amendment would change that to read, “Every person who is both a citizen of the state and of the United States.” It would also add, “No person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to register and vote.”

Since 2018, voters have approved similar constitutional amendments in five states: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, North Dakota, and Ohio.

Amendment 2 and Amendment 3 concern the confirmation of State Civil Service and State Police Commission appointees. 

The State Civil Service Commission has authority over the administration of state employees. Voters created the State Police Commission in 1990, removing state police from the civil service system and creating a separate system for them.

Currently, the governor appoints six members to each of those commissions directly—without any confirmation required—from lists of nominees prepared by the state’s college and university presidents. One commissioner must come from each of the state’s six congressional districts.

If approved, these amendments would require Senate confirmation for those gubernatorial appointees.

Louisiana is one of 13 states with a divided government. Democrats currently control the governorship while Republicans control the state Senate and House. The governorship and all seats in both chambers of the Legislature are up for election in November 2023.

Louisiana voters decided eight constitutional amendments on Nov. 8, approving three and defeating five.

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On this date in 1969, Alabamans decided 28 constitutional amendments

Fifty-three years ago, on Dec. 9, 1969, Alabamans turned out to the polls to decide 34 constitutional amendments, approving 28 and defeating six. Alabama does not allow initiated constitutional amendments, meaning only the Legislature or a constitutional convention can propose changes to the state constitution.

Here are a few highlights of the measures voters approved:

  • Amendment 1 transferred state education oversight to the Legislature and granted appointment authority of the state superintendent of education to the state board of education.
  • Amendment 2 established absentee mail-in voting for voters serving in the military and employed overseas.
  • Amendment 5 authorized the state to issue interest-bearing general obligation bonds of $10 million in principal for the purpose of funding improvements to promote the state’s agricultural economy.

And here are a few that voters defeated:

  • Amendment 6 would have authorized counties and cities to collect property taxes to fund public libraries.
  • Amendment 20 would have consolidated the county offices in Tallageda County.
  • Amendment 33 would have allowed the city of Birmingham to manipulate and lease public parks and playgrounds.

These amendments were all made to Alabama’s sixth constitution, which was originally adopted in 1901. Between 1901 and 2021, that constitution was amended 977 times (including the 28 approved in 1969), making it the longest written constitution in the world.

This year, voters in Alabama approved a seventh, newly-recompiled constitution, which reorganized the existing content, deleted duplicative and repealed provisions, and removed language legislators deemed racist, among other items.

Use the link below to view all 34 constitutional amendments on the ballot in Alabama on Dec. 9, 1969.

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#FridayTrivia: How many state legislative incumbents lost in general elections (so far)?

In the Tuesday Brew, we shared the latest figures on the number of state legislative incumbents defeated in general elections. While there are 32 incumbents in races that remain uncalled, based on what we know right now, 2022 had a decade-low number of state legislative incumbents defeated in general elections, representing just 3.6% of those on the ballot.

How many state legislative incumbents lost in general elections (so far)?

  1. 164
  2. 288
  3. 82
  4. 342