As you likely learned earlier this week, an error in the Secretary of State’s office caused Amendment 2, the state parks amendment, to be published on the ballot incorrectly. Conservation Alabama has been working to understand the state’s solution to this problem since we first notified the Secretary of State’s office of the error on Monday morning, and we appreciate their openness with us.
Yesterday we learned from the Secretary of State’s office that the state will not be reissuing ballots to those absentee voters who have already received ballots with the incorrect language for Amendment 2. Here’s a updated guide to what voters should do:
If you received an incorrect absentee ballot and have already completed and submitted it: Your vote on Amendment 2 will be counted. No further action is necessary.
If you received an incorrect absentee ballot but have not yet completed and submitted it: Your vote on Amendment 2 will be counted – go ahead and cast your vote and submit the ballot.
If you have requested an absentee ballot but have not yet received it: The Secretary of State’s office is in the process of printing new ballots that have the correct, full text of Amendment 2. When you receive your ballot, it may be correct. Your vote will count regardless of the text printed.
If you will vote in person on Election Day: The ballot will be corrected and you will be able to cast your vote for the full text of Amendment 2.
We want to thank Sen. Clay Scofield (R-Guntersville) for his work to make sure the ballot issue is resolved so that on November 8 voters can have full confidence that they are truly voting to protect our state parks. Sen. Scofield’s commitment to our parks has kept this legislation moving forward.
If you have any further questions about this issue, please feel free to contact us.
For more than a year, you’ve heard from Conservation Alabama, our members, and our partners about the importance of our state parks. You’ve written your state representative, state senator, and the governor asking them to protect our parks. And you celebrated with us on April 20 when the House passed Senate Bill 260, guaranteeing that voters will have the chance to vote YES for our parks in November.
So what now?
Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. As temperatures climb and we head into the summer it may seem hard to believe, but before you know it, it will be time to go to the polls in support of our state parks. The constitutional amendment that was called for by SB 260 will be on the ballot, and we encourage you to vote YES so that the funding earned by and allocated to state parks is spent only on parks.
Conservation Alabama will be traveling across the state this summer sharing information about our parks and the enormous value they contribute, not only to our ecosystem, but also to our economy. We’ll be meeting with people that love our state parks, including birders, cyclists, and hikers, as well as the towns that rely on park visitors for their economic health. Our goal is the same as it was in 2015 when attacks on our parks first started: to make sure each Alabamian knows how important it is to protect our parks.
Would you like us to speak to your group or community? Let us know!
After years of threats to Alabama’s state parks, a constitutional amendment protecting their funding once and for all will be on the ballot in November. Senate Bill 260, which calls for a statewide vote on an amendment to specify that any funding earned by or designated for Alabama’s state parks can only be spent on parks, passed the House on April 20. This means the administrative transfers that decimated state parks’ budgets in the past will no longer be allowed to take place. It will now be up to voters to show their support for Alabama’s state parks in November.
The campaign to protect state parks’ funding has been underway for a year, and by our last count more than 11,000 messages were sent to the governor and the legislature during that time. Our elected officials heard your voice; this constitutional amendment is the direct result of the public outcry in response to closing Alabama’s state parks.
Last year our state parks experienced a funding crisis that closed five of Alabama’s 22 parks and required an additional six parks to reduce their services and hours. These park closures were caused by legislators transferring money from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) into the General Fund. These administrative transfers have occurred for the last five years, taking money generated from hunting and fishing licenses and park entrance fees from DCNR and delivering it to the General Fund.
Without your voice, our parks would still be under threat. But we’re not quite done yet. Your support is needed to pass this final hurdle. Your vote in November will protect state parks and keep them open for all of us to enjoy. Let’s ensure our public lands are there now and for future generations.