Alabama Legislature

House Passes CA Prohibiting Legislative Changes Within Six Months of Elections

A poll worker puts up signs at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church before voting started in 2018. (Photo by: Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

MONTGOMERYA bill that would require any future legislation related to the conduct of general elections be passed at least six months before the election passed the House Tuesday.

It’s a constitutional amendment that, if passed by the Senate, would be on the ballot for the 2022 general election.

House Bill 388 is sponsored by Rep. Jim Carns, R-Vestavia Hills, who said it is meant to prevent possible lawsuits against the state.

“This is to make sure we don’t have any slip ups and any challenges of any elections in the future,” Carns said.

The bill passed along party lines with a final vote of 75-24. A motion to cut short debate on the bill also was passed along party lines with a vote of 72-26.

Carns said his bill would not prevent the governor from making executive orders that change election procedures like the changes in absentee voting that occurred for the 2020 election.

Multiple Democrats spoke against the bill, saying they thought it was unnecessary. Rep. Ralph Howard, D-Greensboro, asked why six months was chosen for the bill.

“The pandemic has shown us that we have to adapt pretty quickly, so why should we box ourselves into six months?” Howard said.

Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, said the bill was simply a strategy to get more Republican voters in the 2022 election.

“It’s a good draw to getting people to the polls,” Hall said.