MALDEF POSITION ON OKLAHOMA BALLOT QUESTION
This November, we face a critical election, in which high levels of participation by Latino voters and their allies everywhere can send a powerful message about the importance of the Latino community and its policy views. While the hard-fought presidential election has received most of the media and public attention, the importance of the 2012 General Election also lies in critical congressional and legislative races, as well as in important policy measures on the ballot in many states. Today, MALDEF releases its recommended position on one statewide ballot proposition in the Oklahoma general election. Important issues of policy in key areas will be determined by Oklahoma voters on November 6. MALDEF makes a recommendation with respect to one of the Oklahoma measures because we have seen the terrible effect on civil rights of similar measures in other states. I hope that the position endorsement and brief explanation below help you to decide how to vote on this measure. But, however you decide, what is most important is that every eligible voter take the time to decide, and VOTE. Thank you.
Thomas A. Saenz
President and General Counsel
Oklahoma State Question No. 759: NO
This ballot measure would place in the Oklahoma Constitution a ban on affirmative action in public employment, education, and contracting. It would prohibit equal opportunity admissions programs at state universities.
State Question 759 is a copycat of a number of other states' measures enacted in the last 16 years, beginning with California's Proposition 209 in 1996. These measures are divisive, often designed to create a "wedge" issue in an election rather than to reflect sound public policy. Where such laws have been enacted, public universities have struggled to provide equal opportunity to all of a state's residents, undermining support for public higher education and diminishing the institutions' ability to provide a quality, competitive educational experience for those able to enroll.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "law firm of the Latino community," MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.