WA ELECTIONS: Voters rejecting affirmative action through Referendum 88

A measure that reinstates the use of affirmative action in Washington state employment, contracting, and admission to public colleges and universities is narrowly losing.

Nearly 52 percent of voters have cast ‘reject’ votes for Referendum 88, which asks people whether they want to approve or reject Initiative 1000 that was passed by the Legislature in April.

I-1000 amends current statutes that prohibit state government from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, or contracting.

The initiative would allow the consideration of being part of a minority group to be a contributing factor for a qualified applicant. Along with race, sex, and ethnicity, the measure allows consideration of age, disability, and honorable discharge or military status.

However, it would prohibit using factors such as race as the sole qualifier, and bans mandatory quotas, but would allow state agencies and public colleges and universities to establish diversity goals and timelines. (AP)

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