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Anti-Affirmative Action ballot question filed

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City – The legal battle over the language of an anti-Affirmative Action ballot initiative is about to flare up again.

The first battle, about a year ago, triggered a lawsuit that was eventually dismissed.

The original language used by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan read, in part, that it would, "ban Affirmative Action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities."

The Missouri Civil Rights Initiative sued, saying that was not the wording they had submitted, and Cole County Judge Richard Callahan ruled in the group's favor.

But that ruling was vacated by an Appeals court after the initiative failed to make it onto the 2008 ballot.

Now it's been approved for circulation for the 2010 ballot, and Carnahan has resubmitted the same language the sponsor objected to in 2007.

Carnahan spokeswoman Laura Egerdal says they stand by their language.

"It's the rule of the Secretary of State's office to write ballot summary language that Missourians can understand, that's fair and unbiased, and that will allow them to clearly understand what they're voting on," Egerdal said.

Tim Asher is Executive Director of the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative.

"We feel like this language is unfair and prejudicial and biased, and we want the people to understand what it is that they are voting on when it comes time to vote on it," Asher said.

Asher also says they'll file another lawsuit to change the language to read that it would, "ban state and local government Affirmative Action programs that give preferential treatment in public contracting, employment, or education based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin."


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