A Campaign To Remove Slavery And Indentured Servitude From The Books Was Approved By Voters In Four States

On Tuesday, voters in five states were asked to decide whether to revise their state constitutions to eliminate the possibility of enforcing slavery and indentured servitude.

Although the US Constitution’s 13th Amendment outlawed slavery in 1865, it allowed an exception “for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,” and the proposed amendments asked voters to either expressly exclude slavery and indentured servitude from the list of possible punishments or remove the terms from state law altogether.

voters approved the initiative to remove the penalty of the books in four states but failed in one.

Four States Stand On Slavery And Indentured Servitude

Alabama

Alabama voters approved a ballot initiative that will update the state constitution to remove any instances of racism and increase accessibility for Alabamans. Slavery and indentured servitude will no longer be an exception to the constitution’s exception clause, which will be eliminated as part of the redesign.

No kind of slavery is allowed in this state, and there can be no forced labour unless it’s used to punish someone who has committed a crime for which they have been formally found guilty.

That in this state, there shall be no kind of slavery and no involuntary servitude.

Oregon

A ballot initiative to eliminate “any language creating an exemption” and make “the law against Slavery And Indentured Servitude clear” was approved by voters in Oregon.

The Oregon Constitution was changed as a result of the proposal to permit “programmes to be mandated as part of the sentence,” such as ones for community service, education, counselling, and treatment.

A Campaign To Remove Slavery And Indentured Servitude
A Campaign To Remove Slavery And Indentured Servitude

Tennessee

Tennessee voters approved a constitutional amendment that would have made slavery and indentured servitude “forever forbidden.”

Vermont

A constitutional amendment initiative in Vermont was successful.

Despite being the first state to outlaw slavery, Vermont, the proposal sought to strike language that stated that “no person born in this country, or brought from oversea, ought to be holden by law, to serve any person as a servant, slave or apprentice, after arriving to the age of twenty-one years, unless bound by the person’s own consent, after arriving to such age, or bound by law for the payment of debts, damages, fines, costs, or the like.”

Louisiana

Louisiana voters rejected an amendment that would have clearly prohibited the punishments in the state’s constitution.

The question, “Do you support an amendment to prohibit the use of involuntary servitude except as it applies to the otherwise lawful administration of criminal justice?” was presented to Louisiana voters, who were asked to mark yes or no.

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