Our Perspective — Disenfranchised: Why doesn't anybody really care?
From The Citizen of East Alabama

Received from the source on January 22, 2009
Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Last Wednesday, while the Citizen staff was still gathering final numbers from the election, one of our reporters noticed a potential problem with one of the local Russell County amendments.

Local Amendment No.1 asked voters in Russell County if there should be a referendum (public vote) before the city of Phenix City could sale its water system.

Before we delve into the real issue at hand we want to make it clear that the vote passed overwhelmingly, and we have no problem with the results of the vote.

Local Amendment No. 1 was intended for the residents of Phenix City. It was on the ballot for Phenix City registered voters that lived in Russell County as well as on the ballots of voters in Russell County.

The first question we do have is why was it necessary for people in Russell County have the opportunity to vote on a city issue? This issue should have only been in front of the people that it affected. There is no reason the people that reside outside of the city limits should have been voting on an issue that did not affect them.

The other question dealing with Local Amendment No. 1 is why all of the residents of Phenix City were not allowed to vote on the amendment? While the issue was on the ballots for Russell County voters who lived outside the Phenix City limits, it was not available for vote on the ballots of residents that live in Lee County.

For almost a week, we have been asking if this amendment is constitutionally legal, but no one really seems to know. More alarmingly is that no one seems to care. Everyone seems to want to look at the issue itself rather than taking a probing look at the process. No one is concerned that this may not be the first time that voters in Phenix City that reside in Lee County have been disenfranchised.

Unfortunately, there hasn't been a local issue big enough or important enough to get the people's attention. Everyone seems to think the issue is bigger than them and is something that one person can't resolve on their own. The real issue that concerns us it the flawed condition Constitution of the state of Alabama. While amending it may be bigger than one person, the people of Alabama should demand constitutional reform. As long as no one cares and no one presses the issue, the process will remain forever flawed.

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