By Blair Lozier

Please note that this article is based on projected results and may change with certified election results. 

The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution states reads,“…that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime, where the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”. As of October 2022, 20 state constitutions still included language permitting enslavement or servitude (typically as criminal punishment or for debt payments). During the 2022 midterm elections, five states – Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont voted on whether to remove constitutional language that allows the use of slavery and involuntary servitude. Four of these states voted to approve these ballot measures, while Louisiana did not. This article analyzes the ballot measures and results in each of these states.

Alabama approved the Recompiled Constitution Ratification Question on the ballot as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. The updated and recompiled state constitution was drafted to:

  • Arrange it in proper articles, parts and sections.
  • Remove all racist language.
  • Delete duplicative and repealed provisions.
  • Consolidate provisions regarding economic development.
  • Arrange all local amendments by county of application.

Section 32 of Article I, which stated: “That no form of slavery shall exist in this state; and there shall not be any involuntary servitude, otherwise than for the punishment of crime, of which the party shall have been duly convicted.” was removed from the constitution by the adoption of this ballot measure. This measure received support from 76.5% of voters (as of noon on Nov. 10).

Oregon passed Measure 112 which repeals language from the state constitution that allows the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as criminal punishment and adds language that authorizes an Oregon court or a probation or parole agency to order alternatives to incarceration for a convicted individual as part of their sentencing. Voters approved removing slavery as a criminal punishment with a 55.2% majority (as of noon on Nov. 10).

Tennessee Constitutional Amendment 3 amends the state constitution to remove language that allows the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as criminal punishments and replace it with the statement, “slavery and involuntary servitude are forever prohibited.” Tennessee passed Constitutional Amendment 3 with 79.5% of the vote (as of noon on Nov. 10).

Vermont Proposal 2 repeals language stating that persons could be held as servants, slaves or apprentices with the person’s consent for the payments of debts, damages, fines or costs. The amendment adds that “Slavery and indentured servitude in any form are prohibited” to the state constitution. Vermont passed Proposal 2 with an 89% majority (as of noon on Nov. 10).

Louisiana Amendment 7 would have removed language from the state constitution that allows involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime and adds language to the constitution that prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude except when used as part of the lawful administration of criminal justice. Louisiana did not pass Amendment 7, with 60.9% of voters voting no to the amendment (as of noon on Nov. 10). This may be due to the legislative sponsor of Amendment 7, State Representative Edmond Jordan (D), urging voters to reject the measure as written due to the unclear and ambiguous wording of the amendment. Representative Jordan hopes to bring the amendment back next year with clearer language.

Additional Resources:

CSG will continue to provide initial results on key topics as well as more in-depth analysis in the days following the election. Find those articles on Twitter (@CSGovts) and at

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