Oklahoma State Question No. 737 (2008)

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Background and sponsors

The Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative is proposed as an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution. The Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative is sponsored by the American Civil Rights Initiative, a national organization established in 1996 by Ward Connerly and Dusty Rhodes.

The American Civil Rights Initiative is supporting similar measures in other states in 2008, including Colorado, Missouri and Arizona. It is calling this combined effort Super Tuesday for Equal Rights.

Ballot Qualification Requirements

Initiative organizers have 90 days from September 10, 2007 to gather 138,970 signatures in order to qualify for the 2008 ballot.[1]

Organized petition blocking campaign

In early October, an organized petition blocking campaign to prevent circulators from successfully collecting signatures was initiated.[2] The "Decline to Sign Coalition" is led by Oklahoma City representative Mike Shelton. Shelton has also proposed legislation in the Oklahoma legislature that would make it illegal to pay circulators on a per-signature basis.[3] Proponents of the ballot measure argue that the "Decline to Sign" movement is similar to the ultimately unsuccessful efforts in Michigan in 2006 to prevent the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative from reaching the ballot.[4]

On November 14, an incident of an individual working the prevent the collection of signatures on the Oklahoma Civil Rights initiative was captured and posted on YouTube.[5]

Language of the Initiative

The proposed ballot wording is "The 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."

Similar initiatives

News coverage

Signature gathering underway for civil rights initiative Oklahoma Insider, October 10, 2007.

Affirmative action targeted NewsOK.com, September 27, 2007.

4 States Are New Targets for Bans on Affirmative-Action Preferences The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 23, 2007.

A Leg Up for Minorities on Campus Christian Science Monitor, May 11, 2007.

Opinion commentary

Archive of Equality Talk OkCRI blog entries


  1. Signature gathering underway for civil rights initiative Oklahoma Insider, October 10, 2007
  2. Group urges voters not to sign what they call misleading petition
  3. politicos trying to kill the Oklahoma ballot initiative process?
  4. Decline to Sign: Same Playbook
  5. [*YouTube video of Opposition member harassing and intimidating a Civil Rights Initiative circulator

External Links