Alabama does not have either the initiative or referendum, although voters must approve constitutional amendments proposed by the legislature. The movement for direct democracy was not successful in Alabama during the Progressive era. The only victory recorded by Equity, a publication of the initiative and referendum movement, was a state law giving voters the right of referendum on ordinances in major municipalities, which was invoked by petition of 1,000 voters. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that a state elected official advocated the adoption of the initiative process in the state. When Fob James was elected Governor, he strongly advocated the adoption of the initiative process, but nothing came of it.

Although the state does not permit citizen-initiated ballot propositions, the legislature often places constitutional amendments on the ballot. A total of 1,088 constitutional amendment propositions have come before the voters since the constitution was adopted in 1901, through 2006, by far the most of any state.

See David Schmidt, Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution (Temple University Press, 1989)

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