[10/21/19] Affirmative Action Back on the Ballot

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More than two decades after Washington voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one’s minority status should be considered as a contributing factor in state employment, contracting and admission to public colleges and universities is back on the ballot. The Nov. 5 vote comes after the Legislature raced to approve Initiative 1000 on the final day of this year’s legislative session last April. Opponents of the measure collected enough signatures to force a referendum. Referendum 88 asks voters to either approve or reject the attempt to amend Initiative 200, which passed in 1998. Under current law, state government is prohibited from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting. The new initiative would allow the consideration of being part of a minority group to be a contributing factor for a qualified applicant.