Monday, August 25, 2008

Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative Is a Go for November Ballot

Doug Tietz, Executive Director of the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative, sent along the press release I print below. It concerns the Nebraska Secretary of State's announcement that the 136,589 valid signatures gathered from across more than qualifies the measure for the November 2008 ballot.

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Secretary of State announced today that the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative has qualified for the November 2008 ballot.

“This is a big win for Nebraska. Thousands of Nebraskans from Scottsbluff to Omaha signed the petition. All Nebraskans will now have an opportunity to vote on this important issue,” said Doug Tietz, Executive Director of the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative.

According to the Secretary of State, 136,589 valid signatures of registered voters were collected, far exceeding the needed 112,152 valid signatures – equal to 10 percent of registered voters statewide – to be placed on the ballot. The initiative enjoys statewide support with valid signatures from 5 percent of registered voters in each of 88 counties, far surpassing the threshold of 38 counties needed. Approximately 83 percent of the submitted signatures were valid.

Ward Connerly, national advocate for ending the use of race and gender preferences, praised the Nebraska effort. “I want to commend the people of Nebraska for their support in ending race and gender preferences. It is important for Nebraska, and the rest of the country to have a frank debate about whether our government should judge people based on their race or gender,” Connerly said.

Connerly, President of the American Civil Rights Coalition, has spent the past 13 years fighting for equal treatment for every American regardless of race, sex, color, or ethnicity.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office has approved the following language for the November ballot:
Shall the Nebraska Constitution be amended to provide that the state, and any public institution of higher education, political subdivision or government institution shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, individuals or groups based upon race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in operating public employment, public education, or public contracting? The amendment applies only to actions after its effective date. It would not invalidate existing court orders, prohibit bona fide qualifications based on sex reasonably necessary to normal operation of public employment, education or contracting, or prohibit actions necessary to obtain federal funds through federal programs.

For more information on the NCRI, check out the resources featured at their web site.