Ala. voters reject killing segregation language

/ Source: The Associated Press

A statewide recount showed that voters narrowly decided to keep language in the Alabama constitution supporting segregation and poll taxes, according to unofficial totals released Friday.

Secretary of State Nancy Worley said voters defeated the amendment by just 1,850 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast. The original vote count showed the amendment lost by the same margin, or 0.13 percent.

The amendment would have erased unenforced language from Alabama’s constitution that required segregated schools and poll taxes, designed to keep blacks from voting. Supporters of the amendment said the language is a painful and embarrassing reminder of the South’s divisive past and makes Alabama look bad to companies that might want to do business in the state.

The measure also would have removed language that said there is no constitutional right to an education at public expense in Alabama. Opponents said removing it could have led to huge, court-ordered tax hikes for schools.

Worley cautioned that the totals are unofficial until the votes from the state’s 67 counties are certified next week. “But this is an indication it is not going to turn around,” she said.