Powers to serve on Fair Ballot Commission

Published 3:04 pm Friday, October 20, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Renée Powers of Clanton has been appointed to the Fair Ballot Commission by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.
The purpose of this Commission is to writfair and accurate explanations of measures that will be on the ballot requiring a yes or no vote, explaining what a yes vote would mean and what a no vote would mean. These explanations are written in easy-to-understand language. 
“It is an honor to have this appointment from Secretary of State John Merrill to serve Alabama once again,” Powers said. “… I look forward to working with the Fair Ballot Commission for the next four years as we seek to educate voters statewide on measures that are placed on the ballot for their vote.” 
John Bennett with the Secretary of State’s Office said the appointment was made to a vacant position for a commission member who was not an attorney. 
Bennett said Merrill thought Powers “would be effective in communicating to the people” because of her career in education. 
Powers is a retired elementary school teacher. 
Powers said she had not known that a committee wrote the explanations for amendments until she was appointed to the Commission. 
“I was glad to hear they established this Commission in 2014,” Powers said. 
She commented that ballots are written in legal language that can be hard for the average voter to understand, thus the Fair Ballot Commission explanations helps voters make informed decisions on amendments and similar issues. 
The Fair Ballot Commission meets on an as-needed basis. 
The Commission has 18 members, three of which are public policy representatives from state universities. 
“Once the legislature meets and decides that there would be something statewide, it would go on the ballot the next year,” Powers said. 
Fair Ballot Commissioners would then write their explanations before the item was put on the ballot. The explanation is then posted on the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.