"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

A Super 2008?

December 13th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

By the Editors

When Ward Connerly announced his plan to sponsor a “Super Tuesday for Equality” in 2008 — five referenda to end racial preferences in five states — his foes were quick to respond. “It is our view that what we have to do is stop these ballot initiatives before they get on the ballot,” said Shanta Driver of the exhaustively named Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.

For supporters of racial preferences, the strategy of trying to keep these initiatives off ballots makes sense. That’s because they invariably win. So far, Connerly has secured victories in three blue-leaning states: California, Washington, and, most recently, Michigan. Next year, he’s targeting Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Colorblind equal opportunity will be favored to prevail in each of these places — but only if voters have a chance to consider the ballot initiatives free from political interference and even sabotage.

On Monday in Oklahoma, local activists filed 17 boxes of signatures with the state. In doing so, they overcame a small army of “blockers” who sought to intimidate petition gatherers and harass ordinary citizens. (For a colorful example of what blockers do, check out this YouTube video, shot in Tulsa.) The accomplishment is doubly impressive given that organizers had just 90 days to collect these signatures — only Massachusetts has stricter time limits for ballot qualification, and it doesn’t require as many signatures as Oklahoma.

All told, the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative gathered some 145,000 signatures. If the state determines that nearly 139,000 are valid — a figure that doesn’t leave much room for error — then voters will have a chance to register their opinions on racial preferences. Yet there’s cause for concern: In at least one instance, Connerly’s allies believe that they were handed a slate of forged signatures, very possibly in an underhanded attempt to thwart their efforts.

If the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative comes up short, Connerly could consider a lawsuit to challenge some of the state’s rules. He’s certainly used to the courtroom, as his ongoing experience in Missouri shows. The state’s Democratic attorney general, Robin Carnahan, has tried to rewrite the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative’s ballot language — i.e., the text of the proposal as voters will see it on Election Day. The MCRI has proposed the following: Read more…

Related:

Episcopal Diocese of Missouri Opposes Missouri Civil Rights Initiative

J-168 Missouri Civil Rights Initiative, Submitted by the Rev. Emery Washington on behalf of the Commission on Dismantling Racism: That this 168th Convention of the Diocese of Missouri go on record as standing in opposition to the ‘Missouri Civil Rights Initiative (MoCRI),’ a proposal for the November 2008 Missouri ballot, attempting to eliminate affirmative action in public education, public employment, and public contracting in Missouri;

that this Convention commends Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Attorney General Jay Nixon for changing the deceptive ballot title submitted by the Misssoui Civil Rights Initiative to reflect the actual purpose of eliminating affirmative action;

that this Convention calls on all members of the Diocese to become informed about the effects of such a proposal and to cast their ballots in conformity with the Baptismal Covenant, the tenets of our Democratic Republic and their consciences;

and that the Secretary of this Convention immediately send copies of this resolution to the Governor of Missouri, Secretary of the State, Attorney General and both presidents of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri.

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Tags: Affirmative Action · Carnahans' · Decision '08

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