Affirmative Action Battle Continues

Wednesday, March 12th 2008, 10:53 pm
By: News On 6

There are new developments in the battle over affirmative action.  Another group files a protest against the petition aiming to end racial preferences in Oklahoma.  The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports 15 more voters are claiming fraud and want the petition thrown out.

Those behind the petition say the legal challenges are an effort to deny Oklahomans their right to vote on affirmative action.  Those protesting say it's the petition, itself, that's denying rights and defrauding voters.

Bidding on city and state contracts and diversity at Oklahoma schools and colleges, that's what opponents of State Question 737 say is at stake, if Oklahoma gets rid of affirmative action.

"I believe in affirmative action. I believe in what it's done for America. I believe we need it just as much today as we did in 1961," said Regina Goodwin.

Regina Goodwin says that's why she's joined the effort to have the petition thrown out.  She and 14 other voters filed an official protest on Wednesday.  They claim the petition circulators targeted minority voters and told them signing would defend civil rights and affirmative action.

In reality the goal of the petition is to end racial preferences.  It's the latest in a series of blows for the petition.

Last week, Oklahoma's branch of the ACLU filed its own challenge.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson called the petition's language unlawful, even rewriting the ballot to make it clear that the proposal would end affirmative action in the state.

Proponents of State Question 737 say it is all an effort to deny Oklahomans their right to vote.  Goodwin claims the petition is riddled with fraud and this goes beyond just one vote.

"The credibility, the integrity of this electoral process is at stake in Oklahoma. Everybody should be concerned," said Regina Goodwin.

The petition supporters say the signatures were certified by Oklahoma's Secretary of State and they had more than enough to meet the law's requirements.

Opponents say there were a lot of duplicates and some who signed were not registered voters, as required by law. 

There will be a hearing to decide if the measure moves forward.

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