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November 05, 2008 09:35 PM UTC

Amendment 46 Going Down By 13,000 Votes

  • 20 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

A dramatic turnaround for California political operative Ward Connerly’s heretofore-unstoppable KKK-backed affirmative action bans “Civil Rights Initiatives” that have passed around the country in recent years, as the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Pre-election polls indicated a cakewalk for Amendment 46, the initiative to end race- and gender-based affirmative action programs.

But a sizable ground game helped in part by a huge effort from other campaigns to turn out voters made the so-called Colorado Civil Rights Initiative much too close to call on election night.

The amendment was losing slightly as returns came in…

An identical measure passed by comfortable margins in California 10 years ago, and in Washington and in Michigan. It also passed in Nebraska on Tuesday.

If the trend holds up, Colorado would be the first state to reject the initiative that is the baby of California millionaire entrepreneur Ward Connerly. [Pols emphasis]

While its backers called it a civil rights initiative, it actually would eliminate race- and gender-based affirmative action programs, and that’s why the traditional civil rights community lined up against it…

Ellen Buchman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in Washington, said educating voters that the civil rights measure was actually aimed at ending affirmative action was a key strategy.

This is a very important development, signaling not just a partisan realignment, but also true intelligence on the part of Colorado voters. That’s a defensible statement no matter how you feel about Amendment 46 on the merits: the point is that the proposal was sold deceptively, with its true intent concealed in rhetoric derived in part from the very civil rights laws it sought to undermine. Its passage depended on a significant percentage of voters fundamentally misunderstanding the intent of the initiative.

But Colorado voters weren’t fooled. In Michigan, the same initiative passed handily even after Democrats organized a massive, well-funded Referendum C-style coalition to defeat it. By contrast Colorado’s opposition to Amendment 46 was a shoestring affair, cobbled together with spare resources from a number of organizations.

A few ironically telling gaffes by proponents didn’t help Amendment 46 either. But credit for defeating it, assuming the present lead holds as the final ballots are counted, has to go to something so often casually presumed to be lacking these days: the wisdom of conscientious individual voters.

Comments

20 thoughts on “Amendment 46 Going Down By 13,000 Votes

  1. You voted down 59, but the fact that this one was also voted down means that there’s still hope for this state.

    Not to mention over 1 million votes for President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama!

    1. but there’s a signature challenge in the works.  The states were this has passed is surprising; California, Michigan and Washington.  So it’s kick ass that we didn’t.

  2. Current law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but Amendment Two – how ironic – puts it into the constitution to make it more court proof.  I thought it had little chance of passing with the needed 60%, but it’s held steady at 62% all along.

    (The amendment that raised to bar from 50% plus 1 to 60% with only 58% last year. Another irony.)

  3. After enduring Amendment 2 and Referendum I is that Colorado voters were actually bamboozled into thinking it was a measure to grant civil rights, but they voted it down anyway.

    Colorado voters think people have enough rights. If the backers of this deceptive amendment had actually told the truth about it, it might actually have passed.

      1.     ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.

           INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

           Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

           Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments.

        1. there was some hay made about the ballot title as apparently AG Jerry Brown changed it to from what the sponsors wanted.

          I imagine a few people were confused…but no more than would be confused by anything on else the ballot.

  4. Looking at the county level data I believe that in fact the double-talk in the amendment language actually confused many Republican voters and that may very well have cost its backers the election.

    While the language was written to confuse liberals voters who were not well informed on the issue it’s liberal sounding language actually caused low information Republican voters to vote against Amendment 46.

    Let’s look at the eastern plains counties which, with the exception of Las Animas, all went for John McCain and most by very large margins. We’ll compare John McCain’s performance to the vote on Amendment 46.

    [For the sake of space I have removed the data, you can see it for yourself at my blog]

    Out of 15 counties on the eastern plains Amendment 46 only passed in five (Crowley, Kiowa, Logan, Prowers and Yuma). Even in the counties that it passed it did so by very slim margins in 4 of the 5. The margin was less than 2 points in three of the counties. Even in the county with the biggest margin (Yuma) the amendment still underperformed McCain’s showing by 16.7 points.

    Ward Connerly, Jessica Peck-Corry and the rest of the brain trust behind Amendment 46 thought they were pulling over a fast one on low information Democratic voters with their deceptive ballot language. Now it looks as though they were too cute by half and sunk their Amendment with their own base voters.

    http://steampoweredopinions.bl

  5. I agree with Steve above.  They may well have outsmarted the very people they expected to “get” this.

    Whatever the reason though, I’m glad it failed.  This is actually the second time I’ve voted against it.  We lived in CA in 2002 (?) when it passed there and I more than expected it to pass here.

      1. ..in CA and MI, and it won handily.  The opposition outspent the proponents by huge bagfuls of money in those states.  But it won handily.  Ergo, my theory.  Snarky doesn’t necessarily mean false!

          1. …that 46 was a bad idea.  But your theory seems to rely on the notion that CO voters are simply MUCH smarter/fairer than voters in MI and CA.  And I don’t know if that’s true.  Rather than rely on the notion of the super-CO-voter, I am speculating that another factor may be important.

  6. but didn’t mention it since I’m not a native.

    However, I think 46 just suffered from the glut of initiatives on the ballot. In a normal year, if 46 were one of three amendments, it probably would have passed. This year there was just too much to really make a case for anything. The things that won were hardly advertised at all (50 and 54) and also somewhat less consequential, which suggests to me that Colorado voters were really just tired of hearing about the election by the end, and punished anything they’d heard too much about.

  7. Indeed, there are many factors that have lead to this being such a close race despite most thinking (especially on this site) that it would pass easily.  But of all the various factors, it was good old fashion door knocking and word of mouth education that made this a close race.  Just as in Houston, where the deceitful language was defeated, it was the field effort to educate voters on what the measure would actually do to undercut equal opportunity that made the difference.

    The challenge in CO was that there was a tremendous amount distance to cover with a field effort.  This is one reason why Connerly had thus far been successful with his cookie-cutter measure at the state level in three (now four) other states.  Much credit is due to the incredible grassroots coalition of organizations and individuals who canvassed the state for months educating voters on this amendment.  There are many unsung heroes that walked miles and miles that deserve credit for their effort, regardless of the final outcome.

  8. We should reward primarily on merit, not on skin color or other ineffective, overly broad standards.

    I agree with – to the extent I understand such matters – with the Supreme Court. AA is appropriate to correct historical slights.

    From what I’ve read here 46 was poorly written. Even if the intent was something I agree with, I will definitely not vote for law that I understand to be poorly written.  

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