affirmative action

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington voters have said “no” to an effort to restore affirmative action in the state.

The Associated Press declared Referendum 88 rejected late Tuesday afternoon, one week after Election Day. Soon after, the pro-affirmative action Washington Fairness Coalition sent out a concession statement.

Washington Secretary of State

In a potential rejection of a vote earlier this year by state lawmakers, Washington voters on Tuesday evening were narrowly saying “no” to restoring affirmative action in the state.

The vote to reject Referendum 88 and overturn Initiative 1000, the affirmative action measure that previously passed the Legislature, was 51 percent to 49 percent as of 10 p.m.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In 1998, Washington voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 200, which effectively ended affirmative action in the state.

Now, 21 years later, voters this November will once again have a chance to weigh in on the issue. The vote will test whether attitudes about affirmative action have changed over the past two decades.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Last winter, Anthony Hill and his wife Anita came to Washington state from Michigan to gather voter signatures for I-1000, an initiative to the Legislature to restore affirmative action.

Hill, who is African American, said he believed in the cause, but this wasn't a volunteer effort. He and his wife were among nearly 300 paid professionals who gathered a record 394,716 signatures in nine weeks.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Opponents of affirmative action filed a referendum Monday morning to overturn Initiative 1000, which majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature passed Sunday evening in the waning hours of the 105-day legislative session. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington’s three living former governors testified Thursday in favor of an initiative to once again allow affirmative action policies in public employment, education and contracting.

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Two decades ago, Washington voters overwhelming adopted an initiative that effectively banned affirmative action programs in the state. That could soon change.

Enrique Perez de la Rosa / Northwest News Network

In 1998, Washington residents voted to ban affirmative action in the state’s colleges and universities. But through that initiative, government agencies have also been barred from giving preferential treatment to minority-owned businesses in contracting.

Now, lawmakers are considering repealing the ban.