MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA—A statewide recount showed that Alabama narrowly voted to keep language in the state constitution supporting segregation and poll taxes, according to unofficial totals released Friday.
Secretary of State Nancy Worley said voters defeated the amendment by 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.
Worley cautions the tally is unofficial until the votes are certified next week.
The amendment would have erased unenforced language from the constitution regarding segregated schools and poll taxes designed to keep blacks from voting.
DeWayne Wickham, USA Today, Dec. 6
Onetime segregationist governor George Wallace once explained to me the distinction many Southerners make between a racist and a segregationist—a mind-set that may help explain why Alabama voters recently failed to remove some Jim Crow language from the state’s constitution.
“A racist hates people because of their color or religion or ethnic background,” he told me in 1991. “A segregationist is one who really thought it (forced racial separation) was in the interest of both races.”
In this view, racial segregation is an act of caring, not an expression of racial hatred.
That may have been the thinking of a good number of voters in the state that calls itself the “Heart of Dixie” when they went to the polls Nov. 2. In addition to naming their choice for president, they were asked to decide whether a section of the state’s behemoth constitution that mandates racial segregation in public schools should be stripped from the document.
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