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California Proposition 16, which would have ended the diversity ban for employers, failed to pass on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The proposition “allows diversity as a factor  in public employment, education, and contracting decisions.”

Voting “no” on the ballot would keep the original amendment in place that holds the ban on affirmative action in effect. A “yes” vote would have ended the ban and allow institutions supporting affirmative action to consider specific attributes when selecting participants.

According to EDSource, 57.2% of the voters marked “no” on their ballot, keeping the ban on affirmative action programs in effect. 

The ban was put in place when Proposition 209 was approved with 54% of the vote in the Nov. 6, 1996 election. 

Prop 209, also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative, was intended to end affirmative action programs implemented by employers, public schools and universities that gave preferential treatment to any specific group of people based on sex, color, age, race, national origin and ethnicity. 

“The measure would eliminate affirmative action programs used to increase hiring and promotion opportunities for state or local government jobs, where sex, race, or ethnicity are preferential factors in hiring, promotion, training, or recruitment decisions,” the original proposal reads. 

The Official No on 16 Ballot Campaign, named The California For Equal Rights Campaign, has used “Keep Discrimination Illegal” as the slogan. 

The No on 16 campaign did not respond to Scriberr News’s request for comment by the press deadline, though the endorsements on the official website give insight into the views of its supporters.

City Councilmember of Sunnyvale, Ca, Michael S. Goldman gave a statement to the website stating, “You don’t fight discrimination with discrimination.” 

“Prop. 16 wouldn’t legalize affirmative action – it would legalize quotas.”, he continued.

“This would only serve to divide Americans along so-called ‘racial’ lines. How would someone who ‘benefits’ from a quota ever feel confident in their ability if they know doors opened for them and not for others based on accidents of births? How would they be looked at by their colleagues?”

Supporters of Proposition 16 argue that Prop 209 prevents equality from being achieved and the use of affirmative action would increase diversity in schools and workplaces.

The Opportunity For All Coalition, part of the Yes on Prop 16 campaign, says repealing Prop 209 would give women and people of color a better chance to succeed with the assistance affirmative action could provide them. 

“Ultimately, regardless of the vote tally on Prop 16, that is how we will need to move forward.  California must be a leader in rooting out the laws and systems that continue to create barriers to advancement of all people of all races, ethnicities, and genders,” a Yes on 16 representative told Scriberr News in an email. 

“We see from election results here and elsewhere, that there is work to enlist more champions in the fight against structural racism and gender discrimination.” 

According to Yes on 16, affirmative action would allow the education system to give equal opportunities to women and people of color that have been overlooked because their race wasn’t factored into a decision, or because they were economically disadvantaged.

“Proposition 209 has forced California public institutions to try to address racial inequality without factoring in race,” said University of California President Janet Napolitano. 

The Yes on Prop 16 campaign argues women and people of color make less money and are denied more job opportunities than other demographics. 

California is one of nine states that currently have laws banning the use of affirmative action.

Written ByKarissa Leuschen

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