Arizona Affirmative Action Ballot Measure Challenged

A legal challenge of the proposed anti-affirmative action ballot initiative in Arizona was filed Monday. The challenge was filed by Protect Arizona’s Freedom, a coalition of community leaders, organizations, and volunteers. The lawsuit questions “the validity of over 100,000 signatures based on evidence of 13 categories of fraudulent and illegal signature-gathering tactics.” If the lawsuit is successful, the measure will be removed from the November ballot.

The signature campaign to place the measure on the ballot was initiated and largely funded by Ward Connerly, a Republican businessman from California. The American Civil Rights Institute, an organization founded by 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.

Krysten Sinema, Chair of Protect Arizona’s Freedom, stated in a press release: “Once Arizonans understood the consequences and the terrible tactics brought into our state by Connerly’s out of state team, hundreds – in fact, just under 1,000 – stepped up to volunteer to find the evidence needed to derail Connerly.”

If approved, the measure would ban affirmative action and threaten equal opportunity programs including, Sinema said, “Arizona State University’s Women in Science & Engineering Program, the Governor’s Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women, the City of Phoenix’ Teen Parents Program, the Summer Bridge Program helping Native American students prepare for academic challenges and a host of others.”

Similar measures, also initiated by Connerly, will be on the ballot in Colorado and Nebraska. Anti-affirmative action measures were proposed but will not be on the ballot in Oklahoma and Missouri.


Statement of Krysten Sinema, 8/18/08; Protect Arizona's Freedom Press Release 8/18/08; Feminist Daily Newswire, 7/30/08; Ms. Magazine, Winter 2008

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