Affirmative Action Off the Ballot in Arizona?

Today, an initiative to ban affirmative action in Arizona is likely to get kicked off the ballot by Secretary of State Jan Brewer. "We'll ...
by | August 22, 2008
 

Today, an initiative to ban affirmative action in Arizona is likely to get kicked off the ballot by Secretary of State Jan Brewer. "We'll have won by tomorrow," Kyrsten Sinema told me yesterday. She's a state representative who has been leading the fight against the initiative.

The proposal in question is being pushed by Ward Connerly, the famous anti-affirmative action activist who tried to get similar initiatives on the ballot this year in four other states. He succeeded in Nebraska and Colorado, but failed in Oklahoma and Missouri.

Connerly seems to have met his match in Arizona too. Sinema says that she had 1,000 volunteers working 24 hours a day (presumably not every one of them was working every hour) reviewing the more than 300,000 signatures submitted.

Sinema says they found evidence of fraud. The same name would be repeated sixteen times. Or, the same name would show up three times on the same day with three different addresses. Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Muammar Qaddafi all signed. "It was nice for them to fly in to do that," Sinema says. She's suing to disqualify the initiative.

What's happening today is a bit more mundane. Brewer is expected to weigh in on whether enough of the signatures for the Connerly initiative came from registered voters to qualify it for the ballot. Preliminary figures showed that more than 45% of the signatures came from people who aren't registered to vote, enough to disqualify it. As a result, Sinema expects that her lawsuit will never need a hearing.

If she is right and the measure gets kicked off the ballot, she'll have earned a reputation as an initiative killer. Last year, she led the campaign that made Arizona the first state to reject a gay marriage ban at the ballot.

UPDATE: The initiative is officially off the ballot, although supporters may appeal.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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