Baltimore, MD — As votes were cast Tuesday in five states, an issue on the ballots was hard to miss.
People in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont voted for or against slavery.
Yes, you read that right, slavery.
Although it has been over 150 years since enslaved African Americans have been freed due to the 13th amendment in the U.S. Constitution which was ratified in 1865, abolished slavery. However, there is still a detrimental loophole in the 13th amendment which states that slavery is still allowed as long it is “ punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
This leads to the issue when it comes to the criminal justice system where inmates are used for labor while being paid very little or not at all. According to laaclu.org, “incarcerated workers in Louisiana prisons earn between $0.02 and $0.40 an hour providing vital public service and prison maintenance services.”
While Louisiana was the only state that voted against it, some people blame this due to the wording on the ballot being confusing.
The question read: “Do you support an amendment to prohibit the use of involuntary servitude except as it applies to the otherwise lawful administration of criminal justice?,” according to abcnews.org.
Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont voted against having slavery as a form of punishment.