Arizona Civil Rights Amendment, Proposition 107 (2010)

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An Arizona Civil Rights Amendment, also known as Proposition 107, or HCR 2019, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Arizona as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. It was approved.

The amendment banned affirmative action programs in the state that were administered by statewide or local units of government, including state agencies, cities, counties and school districts.

The Arizona State Senate voted to put the measure on the ballot on June 22, 2009 in a 17-11 party line vote. It was the first time Arizona voters voted on the issue of affirmative action. The measure was sponsored by Steve Montenegro[1][2]

The language of the proposed 2010 amendment was identical to the language of an unsuccessful 2008 proposal, Proposition 104, whose sponsors did not collect enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November 4, 2008 ballot.[3]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official election results for the measure were:

Proposition 107 (Civil Rights)
Approveda Yes 952,086 59.5%

Results via the Official Election Canvass of Results from the Arizona Secretary of State's website.

Text of amendment

Ballot title

The ballot title that Arizona voters saw read as follows:[4]

A "yes" vote shall have the effect of prohibiting the State from giving preferential treatment to or discriminating against any person or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. The prohibition applies to preferences or discrimination in public employment, education or contracting. It exempts reasonably necessary qualifications based on sex, existing court orders and actions that would result in the loss of federal funds. The State includes state government, local governments, public colleges and universities, community colleges and school districts.

A "no" vote shall have the effect of retaining the current law regarding preferential treatment to or discrimination against any person or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, education or contracting.[5]

Short title

The short title of the measure, according to the Arizona Secretary of State's website, read:[6]

A concurrent resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Arizona; Amending Article II, by adding Section 36, Constitution of Arizona; Relating to preferential treatment or discrimination prohibition.[5]

Constitutional changes

The measure was proposed to amend the Arizona Constitution by adding Section 36 to Article 2 to read:

This state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting.[7][5]



Supporters of the measure included:

  • Representative Steve Montenegro, the only Hispanic Republican in the state legislature made his point by stating: “I’m appalled that my government thinks of me as a subclass.”
  • Jennifer Gratz of the American Civil Rights Coalition stated about the measure, "We should be judging people on their character and their merit and not their skin color or their sex...I think there are still pockets of racism and I fully understand we have a horrible history in this country when it comes to racism, but two wrongs don't make a right."[8]
  • Linda Turley-Hansen, syndicated columnist and former Phoenix TV anchor, advised a 'yes' vote on the measure in an editorial revealing her recommendations for all the propositions on the November ballot.[10]


Arguments in support of the proposed amendment included:

  • Connerly stated that banning preferential-treatment programs would "do so in the mirror image of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed racial segregation and solidified equal rights for all citizens."
  • Connerly also stated, "If you could convince me that there was compelling evidence that brown-skinned people, black people, Latinos, Native Americans, are genetically inferior and therefore we are disabled ... I would probably say, 'Yes, we need to allow preferences to make sure that those individuals could have a proper role in American life.'"[1]
  • Russell Pearce, who helped lead the successful passing of the referral, said that "the referendum will eliminate racial and gender preference programs...that send minorities a message that they are inferior and in need of special treatment to be successful."
  • In the Publicity Pamphlet published by the Arizona Secretary of State's office, arguments were submitted for the passage of the measure, most notably the following:[12]
Steve Montenegro stated, "...Today, I'm honored to serve in the Arizona House of Representatives, and I'm proud to be a sponsor of Proposition 107. Other states have already done it, now Arizona can realize Dr. King's dream, recognizing that we live in a world where the color of your skin will not keep you from the school of your choice or the job of your choice, be it at the Waffle House or The White House. Affirmative Action began as a series of policies to expressly prohibit discrimination, but it was warped over time to institutionalize discrimination and, worse still, to convince entire generations that they were not good enough or smart enough to compete. Our proposition is both simple and profound..."
Steve Pierce argued, "I voted to refer Proposition 107 to the ballot when this came before me in the Arizona State Senate in 2009. I was very proud to cast that vote on behalf of the citizens of Arizona. Now we all have the opportunity to vote to take the final step to make it unconstitutional for government in Arizona to prefer one citizen over another because of their color, race or sex. Prop 107 reflects the American Dream to work hard and achieve..."
Kevin G. Rogers and James W. Klinker of the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation jointly stated, "We either have equal protection for our rights, or we do not. You cannot create the standard and then craft out exceptions when it comes to the rights of people."
Sylvia Allen wrote, "Affirmative action programs are especially insulting to women. Not long ago, women held all five major elected offices in Arizona -- at the same time! In fact, the last three governors have been women. Women make up approximately 60% of the nation's college population. The truth is women are competing and succeeding in Arizona and across the nation, and we don't need the perception that it was only because of bureaucratic largess that women get public jobs, contracts or get into our state schools. Let's end this absurdity together and vote "yes" on Prop 107."
Jim Weiers submitted his argument as well, which stated, "Proposition 107 would eliminate racial and sex preferences in public education, public contracting and public hiring. It is straightforward. The opposition wants Arizonans to believe it hinders progress for women and minorities. That's outright false..."



  • Joe Thomas, from the Protect Arizona's Freedom campaign, stated about the measure, "There are no hiring preferences in Arizona and no one is currently being hurt by the preferences Prop 107 purports to eliminate. Arizona state employers are already prohibited from considering a person's race or gender in their hiring practices. A person already cannot be admitted or denied admission to any of Arizona's community colleges or universities based on race or gender."[14]
  • The Pima County Democratic Party recommended a 'no' vote on the measure.[15]


Arguments that were made in opposition to the amendment included:

  • It would eliminate essential programs for keeping women and students of color in college.[16]
  • In an article published by, the writer of the article, Andrew Hedlund, argued about the measure, stating, "Getting a college degree is more essential to success than ever before. Yet Arizona voters will see a proposition in November that questions if we should allow minorities access to programs designed to help them earn a diploma to help them succeed."[17]
  • The Blog for Arizona argued that the measure was condescending to women in the state, by claiming, "All this isn't to say that women are smarter than men, but it is to refute the claim by Yes on 107 that women are somehow stupider than men, and therefore we are doing them a disservice by enrolling them in college. This is to demonstrate that affirmative action policies, that have helped support, recruit and retain female college students, are working: female student have excelled in higher education as a result, in just a short fifty years since the first female students were accepted into prestigious colleges like Princeton."[18]
  • Mel Hannah of the Protect Arizona's Freedom group, argued about the measure, "Our coalition believes that everyone should have the opportunity to compete and succeed in Arizona. We've all seen the signs posted throughout the Valley that say "Yes on Proposition 107 - Do Away with Preferences/Government Quotas." On reading the really fine print on the signs you'll find a disclaimer that the signs were "Paid for by out-of-state contributors." The truth is that government quotas for hiring, promotions or getting into school are illegal in Arizona today. What we do have are equal opportunity programs that enable young women, Native Americans and people of color to succeed once they get into college based on merit."[19]
  • Some college programs could possibly endure negative impacts if the measure passed, according to Hedlund. The article stated, "ASU has several programs that could be affected with the passage of this proposition, including Native American Summer Institute, ASU Summer Bridge and Women in Engineering and Science (WISE)."[17]
  • Kyrsten Sinema stated that the idea that affirmative action existed in Arizona was wrong. Sinema stated, "What we do have are equal opportunity programs. They are programs that allow people to succeed. Affirmative action is not legal in Arizona.”[17]
  • The phrase “affirmative action” was not part of the ballot language. Opponents worried that the measure wanted to eliminate many affirmative action programs, since the phrase was not present.[20]
  • In the Publicity Pamphlet published by the Arizona Secretary of State's office, arguments were submitted against of the measure, most notably the following:[12]
John Wright and Andrew Morrill of the Arizona Education Association stated, "PROP 107, better known as the Anti-Equal Opportunity initiative, will eliminate important programs that ensure academic success for Arizona's students. Today's students are the workforce of the future. Without programs that help students learn study skills, access internships, and prepare for the workplace, Arizona's students will fall behind."
George Dean and Diana Gregory of the Greater Phoenix Urban League argued, "The title "Arizona Civil Rights Initiative" in and of itself is deceptive. This effort is managed and funded by out-of-state interests, spearheaded by California businessman Ward Connerly. It takes away rights and programs which have served Arizona well in the past and which are important to an invigorated and forward-thinking Arizona economic future."
Lea Marquez Peterson, President of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Bill Holmes, former chairman of the board of the group, stated, "Our business community is also concerned that the passing of such legislation will drastically affect the recruitment and retention of Hispanic and other ethnic minority students at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. Our state cannot afford the additional negative publicity that this bill will bring especially after the passing of SB1070 and the ethnic studies bill. Please vote no on Prop 107."
Jennifer Bonnett and Ellen Owens Summo of the Arizona Public Health Association stated, "This proposition will prevent minorities from receiving the prevention and treatment they need. It will also prevent organizations from receiving grants that focus on helping such populations. This one size fits all approach will not improve the public's health, but will instead cause further health disparities. Please Vote NO on Proposition 107 and Protect the Public's Health."
Eric Ehst and Karen Van Hooft of the Arizona National Organization for Women, wrote, "Prop 107, promoted by wealthy out-of-state interests seeking to make us a national test case, would end all state programs that try to improve this situation. We would no longer be able to fund programs that seek to prevent violence against women. We could no longer encourage women and minority-owned business to compete for state contracts. We could no longer encourage and support women students seeking to enter the high-paying (and economically vital) fields of science and engineering."

Campaigning, forums and events

  • On August 31, 2010, a forum took place at the Memorial Union of the Arizona State University Tempe campus. The forum, hosted by the ASU National Pan-Hellenic Council, showcased a panel of individuals who felt strongly about the affirmative action issue. According to Arizona State Conference NAACP President Wilbert Nelson, the measure was a product of racism and fear among those who supported it. Michael Wong, another panelist and vice president of policy for the Undergraduate Student Government, stated, “This proposition is disingenuous if not completely false. If we’re a truly colorblind society, graduation rates should be parallel. That argument just doesn’t fly."[21]

Campaign contributions


The following donations were made in support of the measure:[22]

Contributor Amount
ACRC $33,479.05
ACRC $25,000
ACRC $25,000
ACRC $20,000
Clear Channel Radio $19,949.25
KRB Consulting various payments $13,000
ACRC $6,000
ACRC $5,000
Clear Channel Radio $2,060.25


The following donations were made in opposition of the measure:[23]

Contributor Amount
Service Employees International Union $10,000
ANA Advertising $5,008.72
Strategic Planning Consultants $5,000.00


  • According to the No on 107 campaign, state legislators had wrongly used their positions to place the initiative on the ballot. According to the Yes on 107 campaign, they countered this argument by stating, "...that's how most Arizona initiatives get on the ballot, through the legislature referring them! There is nothing unethical, nor wrong, about Senator Russell Pearce and State Representative Steve Montenegro referring 107 to the ballot. The other way to get an initiative on the ballot is to collect 230,000 signatures."[13]

Analysis, reports and studies

Legislative analysis

A legislative council analysis performed on the measure and published in the Arizona Secretary of State's Publicity Pamphlet, impartially stated the following, in terms of what the measure would do if enacted by voters:[12]

Proposition 107 would amend the Arizona Constitution to ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to or discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting. This proposition does not prohibit bona fide qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education or public contracting. This proposition would not prohibit action necessary to prevent a loss of federal funding to the state and would not invalidate any existing court orders. The remedies for violations of this proposition would be the same as for violations of current antidiscrimination laws. This proposition applies to the state, counties, cities, towns, special districts and other political subdivisions of the state, including school districts, public universities and community college districts.
This proposition would apply only to actions that are taken after the effective date of this proposition.

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Arizona ballot measures, 2010


  • The Yuma Sun endorsed the measure, stating, "Responding to discrimination with discrimination is not the right answer. The goal in America needs to be that all people — regardless of their inherent physical, racial or ethnic traits — are selected on their qualifications alone. Proposition 107 takes a step in the right direction to ensure equal treatment for all in the public arena."[24]
  • The Arizona Republic was in support, stating, "Affirmative action was a catch-up plan, adding extra opportunity where it had been missing in education and the workplace. The time was going to come when affirmative action was no longer necessary. That time is now.[25]
  • Inside Tucson Business stated: "Vote yes to eliminate preferential treatment of contractors hired by public jurisdictions."[26]
  • The Desert Lamp stated in an editorial about the measure: "While perhaps well-intentioned, opponents of Proposition 107 ignore the fact that perpetuating such programs will only stigmatize the “beneficiaries” of affirmative action programs further. Vote yes on prop 107. Vote yes on putting an end to state-facilitated racism."[27]
  • Goldwater State was for the measure, stating, "Support racial and ethnic equality by voting "yes" on Prop. 107."[28]


  • The Arizona Daily Star was opposed, saying, "Would amend the state constitution to gut any affirmative-action programs, with likely harmful effects on government and school programs."[29]
  • The East Valley Tribune recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "If a government agency or school is skewed heavily toward males or whites, for example, it should have the option to hire a female or a minority — all other factors being equal — to improve diversity. A complete ban on affirmative action goes too far."[30]

Path to the ballot

The measure was approved by the Arizona House of Representatives and was also approved by the Arizona State Senate by a vote of 17-11. The measure needed to be approved by both chambers by a majority vote in order to placed on the November ballot.[2]

Similar measures

See also

External links

Suggest a link

Additional reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Arizona Capitol Times, "GOP sends 3 measures to 2010 ballot," August 5, 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1, "Affirmative action to go on 2010 ballot," June 23, 2010
  3. The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 22, 2009
  4. Arizona Secretary of State, "Publicity Pamphlet," accessed September 22, 2010
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  6. Arizona Secretary of State, "2010 General Election:Ballot measures"
  7. Forty Ninth Legislature, "HCR 2019"
  8. Ahwatukee Foothills News, "Anti-affirmative action initiative set for November ballot," September 19, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Arizona Republic, "Proposition 107 would ban preferential hiring treatment," September 28, 2010
  10. East Valley Tribune, "Voters: Awaken and prepare for heavy-duty ballot propositions," October 10, 2010
  11. Kingman Daily Miner, "Officials sound off on upcoming propositions," October 14, 2010
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Arizona Secretary of State, "Publicity Pamphlet," accessed September 21, 2010
  13. 13.0 13.1 Yes on 107, "AZ Republic calls No on 107 campaign out for inaccurate accusation about getting 107 on the ballot," September 14, 2010
  14. Arizona Daily Star, "NO: Prop. 107 would harm Arizonans and deny opportunities," September 26, 2010
  15. Blog For Arizona, "PCDP Ballot Measure Recommendations," accessed October 18, 2010
  16. Arizona Capitol Times, "Senate moves affirmative-action ban to 2010 ballot."June 22, 2009
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 State Press, "Prop 107 would end equal opportunity," August 23, 2010
  18. Blog For Arizona, "How the "Yes on Proposition 107" Side Gets it Wrong on Higher Education," October 28, 2010
  19. Ahwatukee Foothills News, "Reading the fine print about Proposition 107," October 21, 2010
  20. Morrison Institute, "Understanding Arizona’s Propositions: Prop 107," accessed September 3, 2010
  21., "Panel denounces anti-affirmative action initiative," August 31, 2010
  22. Arizona Secretary of State, "Notifications of Contributions to Ballot Measure Committees," accessed September 13, 2010
  23. Arizona Secretary of State, "Notifications of Contributions to Ballot Measure Committees," accessed September 13, 2010
  24. Yuma Sun, "Discrimination wrong answer for inequality," October 11, 2010
  25. Arizona Republic, "Affirmative action no longer useful," September 30, 2010
  26. Inside Tucson Business, "Recapping where we stand on candidates and propositions," October 29, 2010
  27. Desert Lamp, "The Desert Lamp’s Ballot Proposition Endorsements," October 20, 2010
  28. Goldwater State, "Ballot question summaries and recommendations part 1: Propositions 106-113, the Constitutional amendments," November 1, 2010
  29. Arizona Daily Star, "The Star's recommendations on state, local propositions," October 28, 2010
  30. East Valley Tribune, "Endorsements: Ballot propositions," October 24, 2010