Putting a polarizing campaign behind them, Californians moved decisively Tuesday to dismantle state affirmative action programs, passing a ballot measure that bans racial and sex preferences in public hiring, contracting and education.
Early returns showed overwhelming support for the hotly debated Proposition 209. With 9 percent of the vote counted, the measure was leading 64 percent to 36 percent.
“I’ve been working for 40 years and the only discrimination I’ve seen has been toward me because of affirmative action,” Andy Porter, 67, said as he voted in Long Beach. “They say, ‘Today we have to hire a black person or a brown person,’ even though the other person may be more qualified.”
California voters also approved legalizing the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Florida’s sugar growers, under attack for polluting the majestic Everglades with fertilizer runoff, spent big and beat off a proposed penny-per-pound tax that would have helped clean up the fabled “river of grass.”
Across the country, Americans helped steer their states’ futures at the polls, voting on hundreds of ballot measures that could become law, including at least 90 citizen initiatives.
Montana voters, in the year of the freemen siege, passed an anti-extremism initiative that would make it easier to sue people accused of threatening or intimidating.
Early returns showed Colorado’s parental rights measure trailing badly. It would have amended the state constitution to enshrine the rights of parents “to direct and control the upbringing, education, values and discipline of their children.”
Kentucky voters removed archaic language from their constitution that required separate schools for “white” and “colored” children. Arizona expanded gambling on Indian reservations and voted to allow 15-year-olds to be tried as adults for murder, rape and armed robbery. And Ohio voters rejected a proposal to string eight riverboat casinos along river banks and lakeshores.
xxxx SNAKE E Gambling got the boot in Ohio, where voters rejected the notion of stringing riverboat casinos along the Ohio River and the Lake Erie shore.
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