Anti-Affirmative Action Measures on November Ballots in AZ, CO, and NE

Anti-affirmative action measures will be on the state-wide ballots in Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska this November. These measures call themselves civil rights initiatives but would effectively end affirmative action programs in these states. The deceptive wording borrows the language of civil rights and may trick millions of Americans primed to vote for any civil rights initiative, as Kimberle Crenshaw describes in a Winter 2008 article in Ms. Magazine.

The American Civil Right Institute, an organization founded by Ward Connerly and Dusty Rhodes, has been involved in disassembling affirmative action across the nation through ballot initiatives like these for more than a decade and has provided significant financial and organizing assistance to the campaigns. The group’s combined effort in Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska is called “Super Tuesday for Equal Rights.”

In Arizona, Proposition 104 states that “The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.” If passed, the measure could become an amendment to the constitution and would dissolve affirmative action as currently practiced in Arizona. John McCain announced that he supports the initiative, reversing his previous statements that rejected the idea of banning affirmative action programs, reports ABC News.

Colorado’s Amendment 46 would block preferential treatment practices in public employment, public education and public contracting. Signature collectors were accused of targeting black communities and engaging in misleading signature collection practices in an April New York Times article. The article states that several dozen Coloradans were tricked into signing petitions after being asked if they supported ending discrimination.”

In Nebraska, a measure called the Civil Rights Initiative has been proposed and would amend the Nebraska Constitution if enacted. This measure is currently awaiting certification for the November ballot. It would prohibit discrimination and preferential treatment practices based on race, effectively ending affirmative action practices in Nebraska.

Anti-affirmative action measures were proposed but will not be on the ballot in Oklahoma and Missouri.


AZ Secretary of State, CO Secretary of State; Ms. Magazine, Winter 2008; New York Times 4/1/2008; ABC 7/27/2008; Nebraska CRI

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