Photo: A billboard in downtown Birmingham reminds Alabamians to "choose people, not prisons" as part of our Jefferson County District Attorney campaign.
Now that the election season has come to an end, we want to take time to reflect on what we have learned during the midterm campaigns and look ahead for where Alabama must go from here. While the statewide results were disappointing given the passage of Amendment 1 and Amendment 2, we should not overlook the positives that we saw last week and throughout this election cycle.
- In an unprecedented campaign for the ACLU of Alabama, we engaged in our first candidate race with the District Attorney in Jefferson County. With the help of many partnering organizations including Alabama Civic Engagement Coalition, Alabama Justice Initiative, Faith in Action Alabama, Greater Birmingham Ministries, The Justice Collaborative, and the ACLU's Campaign for Smart Justice, we focused on not only educating voters with a robust billboard and digital media campaign about the important role that the District Attorney plays in the criminal justice system, but we also demanded that the DA candidates take firm positions on Smart Justice initiatives, such as ending the war on drugs, eliminating wealth based discrimination, and reducing racial disparities. With Danny Carr's win, we saw Alabama voters stand up against the status quo and vote for criminal justice reform. During Carr's campaign, he made a bold statement to treat low level marijuana possession as a civil infraction instead of with jail time. We and our partners look forward to working with Carr's office to hold him accountable to this promise and others. (CBS News)
- To ensure people knew their rights and their candidates when it came time to vote, we developed a comprehensive voter guide to make sure every Alabamian had the tools they needed to be an informed voter on Election Day. In addition to our digital resources, we co-hosted three voter engagement events in October. The first was Right to the Ballot: Then and Now with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where we discussed the past and present of voter suppression and how that affects our elections today. The other events were part of a series titled Conversations at Kress that we co-hosted with Kress on Dexter in Montgomery. The series discussed topics like the impact of women’s votes in our country and how Alabama is trying to make voting accessible and secure for all Alabamians.
- On Amendment One, which authorizes the display of the Ten Commandments on government property including public schools, we spoke with numerous reporters, wrote an op ed for Alabama Political Reporter, and utilized our social media platforms to make sure voters understood that the amendment was useless and would leave government entities unprotected and accountable in the event that litigation was filed against them. Unfortunately, the amendment passed with more votes than any other item on the ballot, but we will be monitoring the situation for the event that a Ten Commandments display is placed on public property. We are committed to ensuring that religious freedom extends to all Alabamians, not just Christians. (AL.com)
- On Amendment Two, which paves the way for the criminalization of abortion with no exceptions, we worked as a part of Alabama for Healthy Families to fight against this assault on women's right to make her own healthcare decisions. While the passage of this amendment is concerning because it is likely to touch on other healthcare services than just abortion, we will be active in the legislature to advocate that any clarification on this amendment will take into account the importance of having access to safe, high quality reproductive care in our state. We will always be here to stand with Alabama women, their families, and their private medical decisions, and we will continue to fight any attack against reproductive freedom in our state. (Huffington Post)