Ward Connerly – who ten years ago spearheaded California’s successful ballot initiative to end affirmative action in education, two years later worked to end it in Washington state, and this year joined the effort in Michigan, where a ban on affirmative action also passed – announced today that he is exploring nine more states: Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah. “Three down and 20 to go,” he said in a conference call this morning, referring to the number of states that have ballot initiative procedures.
Connerly was joined by Jennifer Gratz, a white student who sued the University of Michigan after being rejected for admission and who later led the ballot initiative to ban affirmative action outright. Gratz will join Connerly’s American Civil Rights Institute to work on the expansion of these bans. “We’ve always felt that if we could win in Michigan, we could win anywhere,” she said.
Despite the name of Connerly’s group, efforts like the Michigan ban have been opposed by major civil rights organizations. Connerly did pick up support from one major group: “If the Ku Klux Klan thinks equality is right, God bless them,” he said.