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Tuesday ballot features

three amendments

By MICHELLE WILSON

Staff Writer

Published Oct. 10, 1999

When Pike County voters go to the polls Tuesday, they can expect to see a short ballot.

Only three items, all of which are proposed amendments to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, will be on ballots in Pike County. In order for each amendment to become law, it must be approved by a majority of voters in the state.

Voters here will join others across the state at the polls. The referendum election Tuesday coincides with two highly contested mayoral races in Montgomery and Birmingham, said Pike County Probate Judge William G. Stone.

According to a sample ballot for the election, proposed Amendment 1 establishes the Alabama Education Lottery to fund the Alabama HOPE Scholarship Program for colleges and universities and junior, technical and community colleges. It also funds voluntary pre-kindergarten programs and technology in public schools.

If approved, Amendment 1 will also create an Alabama Education Lottery Corporation to administer the lottery and to prohibit the operation of casinos in the state. It requires the lottery revenues to be used to increase funding for education and not to replace existing education revenues.

Proposed Amendment 2 would allow the Alabama Legislature to extend state retirement to elected officials through the Employee’s Retirement System of Alabama and abolish the locally-funded programs, or supernumeraries, in which many of them now participate.

The amendment guarantees elected officials would participate in the state retirement program with the same terms, conditions and benefits as regular employees

All other elected officials not covered by a supernumerary program could be covered by state retirement.

Proposed Amendment 3 allows the Alabama Legislature to provide for an elected city board of education in any municipality with a city board of education.

Under the present law, cities appoint school board members, Stone said. This amendment would give cities the option of choosing to elect school board members.

Regardless of how you feel on these issues, it is important to come out and vote, Stone said.

As of Sept. 24, 17,834 Pike County voters had registered to vote in the election, he said. Oct. 1 was the last day voters who wanted to cast their ballots in Tuesday’s election could register.

Stone expects Tuesday’s referendum election to have a large voter turnout because the lottery is such an emotional issue. Polling places are prepared to vote every voter in Pike County, he said.

Polls here open at 8 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

"The average person should consider what is going on around them because those with a vested internet in matters on the ballots will vote for sure," he said. "Since only about 30 percent of the population usually turns out to vote in any given election, the private interest groups wind up making the decisions by default.

"Many of the average working citizens have left the decision making to a special group."