Affirmative Action Ban Scuttled

Barbara Hoberock, Tulsa World, April 5, 2008

Backers of a proposed state question to end race and gender preferences have asked to withdraw the measure from consideration.

Critics said it would have ended affirmative action in Oklahoma.

Lawyers for Oklahoma City attorney W. Devin Resides filed a motion with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday to withdraw the proposed ballot measure, State Question 737, from consideration.

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The motion to withdraw the measure says backers do not believe that the number of signatures required to get on the ballot has been obtained. To get on the ballot, the petition would need 138,970 valid signatures.

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The Secretary of State’s Office counted 141,184 signatures on the petition but found a large number of duplicate names and addresses.

“Based on the number of signatures delivered to the Secretary of State, the validity rate for the signatures would need to be in excess of 90 percent, which is a statistical impossibility given historical validity rates and the limited time to verify the signatures,” the motion says.

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If it had been approved by voters, the measure would have added a section to the state constitution.

The proposed ballot title says the new section would prohibit “discriminating against or granting preference 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 political subdivisions.”

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