MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Amendment four would prevent the legislature from changing how the general election is run within six months of that election. Alabama lawmakers passed it in the 2021 session and voters will have their say during the midterm election.

Alabama League of Women Voters President Kathy Jones worries it could hinder changes that may need to be made in an emergency.

“There are things you can’t foresee, like tornadoes, hurricanes. You could see another pandemic. There could be a lot of different unforeseen circumstances that require changes,” Jones said.

The legislation came amid Republican concerns over changes some states made to voting procedures in 2020 in light of the pandemic.

Jones thinks the state should be allowed to make changes as needed.

“We feel like it makes sense to have the flexibility to make changes to election laws,” Jones said.

Secretary of State John Merrill says this amendment exists to protect the people from a rogue legislature.

“This way there is a time frame that enables the voter to be able to properly process and understand what might be passed by the legislature before they have the opportunity to vote on it at some point in the future,” Merrill said.

Merrill says in the case of an emergency, using the pandemic as an example, the state can act in limited ways laid out by law ahead of an election.

He says this amendment won’t hinder that.

“There are other options available to the legislature, to the governor to enable us to be able to conduct governmental affairs effectively if that’s necessary at some point in the future,” Merrill said.

Merrill expects turnout this November to be somewhere between 45% and 50% of registered voters.

In addition to Amendment four, there will be nine other statewide amendments on the midterm ballot. You can find more information on each on the Secretary of State’s website.