BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama launched its first ever non-partisan billboard campaign to draw attention to the special District Attorney race in Jefferson County.
After former DA Todd Henderson was indicted of perjury in 2017, Deputy DA Danny Carr was appointed by a Jefferson County circuit judge as a temporary replacement for Henderson. After Henderson was convicted, Governor Kay Ivey appointed the current DA Mike Anderton. Both Anderton and Carr are now candidates up for election on November 6, Carr as a Democrat and Anderton as a Republican.
“This election will have a major impact on whether Jefferson County residents will have a DA who is working to help Alabamians or hurt them. That’s why the ACLU of Alabama is committed to ensuring that Alabama voters know what’s at stake when they vote on November 6,” said Dillon Nettles, policy analyst for ACLU of Alabama. “The billboards’ messages are simple: District Attorneys have massive power to make choices that impact the criminal justice system. But by voting and by holding our elected officials accountable, we all have power to make them make better choices.”
The campaign’s billboards are already up on 3rd Avenue S, Green Springs Highway, and on I-59 N. The billboards are a part of a larger advocacy effort around the role of District Attorneys, which includes a comprehensive digital engagement campaign, complete with a website, choose your own adventure game, action opportunities, and more. It also includes a partnership with other local criminal justice organizations to advocate for Jefferson County’s next District Attorney to commit to adopting better policies that will support smart justice criminal reform efforts.
Thanks to this partnership amongst local organizations, the ACLU of Alabama and others were able to apply increasing pressure on the DA candidates to address marijuana policies. Danny Carr and Mike Anderton have both responded on social media to clarify their positions. Since then, additional questions have come up in light of new reports from Alabama Appleseed about the role of wealth based discrimination in the criminal justice system.
A petition is now circulating to end debtor prisons, with dozens of people signed on so far who want to send a message that Alabamians are tired of the status quo. Recent polling shows that 79 percent of likely Alabama voters want candidates who support criminal justice reform, including 77 percent of Republicans.
This campaign is a part of the ACLU of Alabama’s ongoing commitment to our nationwide Campaign for Smart justice, a non-partisan effort which does not endorse or oppose candidates.