2 State Constitutions Allowed for Slavery. But No More

Utah, Nebraska outlaw the practice, without exemptions
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2020 1:23 PM CST
2 State Constitutions Allowed for Slavery. But No More
An election worker pulls a stack of returned ballots from a sorting machine at the King County Elections office in Renton, Wash., on Oct. 20.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A person convicted of a crime in Utah or Nebraska could technically be punished with slavery under the state constitution, but no longer. Voters in both states chose to remove language describing the possible punishment on Tuesday. With passage of Amendment C, Article I, Section 21 of Utah's constitution—reading "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within this State"—will now read "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within this State," per ABC4, which helped bring attention to the language crafted in 1895.

The vote was 83% in favor of removing the exemption language, per KSL. In Nebraska, 68% of voters supported Amendment 1, which will update Article I, Section 2 of the state constitution, crafted in 1875, per the AP and KETV. The wording is almost identical to what appears in Utah's constitution. (Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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