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Michigan: ballot wording for anti-affirmative action initiative okayed

The Detroit Free Press reports: Forced to choose between the wishes of angry affirmative action supporters and a court order, a state elections panel chose the latter Friday and approved wording for a ballot proposal that would ban the use of race and gender in government hiring, contracts and university admissions.

The Board of State Canvassers, which failed to act at a chaotic session in December on the same issue, approved wording proposed by state Elections Director Christopher Thomas on a unanimous 3-0 vote with one member absent.

Backers of the proposed constitutional amendment, called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, said they were satisfied with the wording adopted by the board and looked forward to a vigorous debate between now and November.

The ballot question approved by the board will ask voters whether they wish to ban "affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment" based on race, gender, color or ethnicity.

Opponents said the inclusion of the words "preferential treatment" would unfairly influence voters. -- Rights wording OK'd for ballot

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