Oklahoma Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative

February 2, 2010

A challenge in the Supreme Court of Oklahoma to the certification of signatures submitted in support of an anti-affirmative action initiative.

On April 4, 2008, backers of a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would end equal access and opportunity programs in the state asked the state supreme court to withdraw the measure from consideration. Supporters of the so-called Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative (OKCRI) - spearheaded by Ward Connerly's American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) as part of a national crusade against affirmative action - admitted that they had failed to collect the signatures needed to get the proposal on this November's ballot.

More on ACRI deception >>

The request for withdrawal came shortly after Oklahoma voters challenged the petition before the state Supreme Court, alleging irregularities and questionable practices in the collection of signatures by the OKCRI. The Oklahoma Supreme Court certified the ballot measure’s signatures despite a report from Secretary of State M. Susan Savage indicating that the signature count “resulted in an unprecedented situation where large numbers of duplicate names and addresses were discovered well into the signature counting process….[and] it is a reasonable assumption that not all duplicates have been discovered.” Savage also noted that her report to the court took much more time to compile than usual “due to the scope and number of irregularities noted among the signature pages.” Among the irregularities Savage noted were numerous instances of circulators signing their own petitions multiple times. 
 
The ACLU's Racial Justice Program, ACLU of Oklahoma and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund brought this challenge to preserve the integrity of the electoral process in Oklahoma. We continue to find numerous deficiencies in our on-the-ground investigation of the OKCRI, consistent with the beliefs of the OKCRI's own backers that its petition is defective and should be withdrawn.

Read more about the withdrawal on the ACLU blog >>
What Ward Connerly had to say about the withdrawal >>

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