Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Judge refuses to remove civil rights initiative from November ballot

This is the ballot language
adopted by the Board of State Canvassers for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative proposal headed to voters in November:

The proposed constitutional amendment would:

Ban public institutions from using affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes. Public institutions affected by the proposal include state government, local governments, public colleges and universities, community colleges and school districts.

(Contradictory & Confusing part of the Ballot)
Prohibit public institutions from discriminating against groups or individuals due to their gender, ethnicity, race, color or national origin.

Should this proposal be adopted?



OBM: After reading this ballot alot of voters could think they were actully voting in favor of affirmative action programs based on the last sentence.

August 29, 2006

A federal judge in Detroit refused Tuesday to remove the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative from the Nov. 7 ballot, even though he said promoters “engaged in systematic voter fraud by telling voters that they were signing a petition supporting affirmative action.” The proposal would ban the use of race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin in government and public school hiring, contracting and university admissions in Michigan.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow said he couldn’t remove the proposal from the ballot because the MCRI group targeted all voters without regard to race while gathering petition signatures.

“Because the Voting Rights Act is not a general anti-voter fraud statute, but rather prohibits practices which result in unequal access to the political process because of race, the Court must conclude that the defendants’ conduct, through unprincipled, did not violate the act,” Tarnow wrote.

Tarnow denied a request by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Operation King’s Dream, a pro-affirmative action group, for a preliminary injunction to remove the proposal from the ballot. He granted requests by the state and the MCRI to dismiss the lawsuit.

Supporters sought petition signatures last year to get the issue on the November ballot.Tarnow said all voters should be concerned by the MCRI’s conduct. If it passes, he said, it will be “stained by well-documented acts of fraud and deception.”

With the exception of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Tarnow said Michigan courts, the Board of State Canvassers, secretary of state, attorney general and state Bureau of Elections failed to investigate and take action to prevent the issue from getting on the ballot.“

With the exception of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, the records shows that the state has demonstrated an almost complete institutional indifference to the credible allegations of voter fraud raised by plaintiffs,” Tarnow said.

There was no immediate comment from the lawyers in the case.

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