Anti-affirmative Action Initiative Petition Signatures Turned In

United States

 

The Associated Press 

December 11, 2007 

 

A group seeking an end to government-sponsored race and gender preferences has submitted 22 boxes of petitions to Oklahoma’s secretary of state, hoping to land the issue on an upcoming ballot.

The group, known as the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative, is trying to use the state’s initiative petition process in an effort to have Oklahoma voters decide on a proposed constitutional amendment.  

The amendment would prohibit discriminating against or granting preferences to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, public education and public contracting by the state or any of its agencies, institutions or subdivisions.  

It would not prohibit qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to normal operations in public employment, education or contracting, or any action that would be necessary to obtain federal funding.

Those opposed to the effort say it is an attempt to end the government’s affirmative action programs and that the passage of such an amendment would hurt small businesses run by minorities.  

A minimum of 138,970 signatures from registered state voters are necessary for the issue to make it to the election ballot.

"I think we have enough signatures," said W. Devin Resides of Oklahoma City, who supports the measure. He said volunteers and paid solicitors were used to gather the signatures.  

He said the secretary of state’s office will begin checking the signatures on Jan. 2, after which its findings will be sent to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which must certify whether or not enough legal signatures were collected.

If there are enough such signatures, the proposal still would have to endure any potential legal challenges before it lands on the ballot.  

Californian businessman Ward Connerly visited Oklahoma earlier this year to support the effort to place the measure on Oklahoma’s ballot. His group, the American Civil Rights Institute, also wants the measure on the November ballot in four other states.

 

 

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