MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — The Alabama NAACP held a conference on Wednesday to discuss their opposition and support for Madison residents who oppose voting for a city manager government style.

In just under a week, Madison residents will cast their vote in a special election to decide if the city’s government structure will change.

There are two options – the “mayor-council” structure which is what the city currently has – and a “council-manager” structure.

Here is a basic breakdown of each structure, provided by the City of Madison.

(Photo: City of Madison)

Members of the organization say they believe that switching to a city manager style would reduce the representation and rights of citizens.

Alabama NAACP president Benard Simelton told News 19 that he believes changing the number of city council seats could impact minorities and limit their voting abilities.

“When you go from 7 to 6 or any number when you reduce the number, we think that decreases the opportunity for minorities, African Americans to have their voices heard,” Simelton said.

Limestone NAACP president Will Woodruff says he wants citizens to know the potential impact of voting for a city manager.

“You’re not just gaining a manager but you’re losing a district to vote in,” Woodruff said.

There is still time for Madison residents to collect absentee ballots if they are unable to make it to the polls. Here are some important dates for voters:

  • May 4, 2023 – Last day for a voter to apply for a regular absentee ballot by hand. (City Clerk’s Office)
  • May 8, 2023 – Last day, up to the close of business, for a voter to apply for and submit an emergency absentee ballot.
  • May 8, 2023 – Last day, up to the close of business, for a voter to hand-deliver absentee ballot.
  • May 8, 2023 – If an absentee ballot is returned by mail, it must be postmarked by May 8, and received by noon on May 9, 2023, Election Day.
  • May 9, 2023 – Election Day: Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m.

If you still have questions about the governance styles or what your vote means, the City of Madison prepared “FAQs” that may help answer those questions. You can find these here.