Colorado Amendment 46

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Amendment 46, also known as the "Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, was a proposed initiative on the Colorado ballot for 2008. If ratified, Article II of the Colorado Constitution would have stated:

The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.


The proposed initiative was sponsored by Californian Ward Connerly. In April, 2008, a Colorado group sued, claiming that over 69,000 signatures on the ballot petition were invalid.[1] Some citizens also claimed that they signed the petition through voter fraud.[2]

Governor Bill Ritter opposed the amendment,[3] along with the Colorado Council of Churches.[4]

Petition company[edit]

National Ballot Access was hired to manage this petition drive.[5][6]


Amendment 46[7]
Choice Votes %
Referendum failed No 1,138,087 50.80
Yes 1,102,098 49.20
Total votes 2,240,185 100.00


Initiatives with the same language have been introduced and approved in five other states, including California (1996), Washington (1998), Michigan (2006), Nebraska (2008), and Arizona (2010); Colorado was the first state where it was defeated. On December 17, 2010 the University of Colorado at Boulder released a report[8] analyzing the factors that led to the defeat of Amendment 46. According to the study, "...Coloradans overwhelmingly intended to support affirmative action on Election Day; arguably, were Amendment 46 a clearly worded referendum on attitudes toward affirmative action, it would have failed by a much wider margin: 66 to 34 percent." The report also found that (a) many voters were confused by the initiative, (b) voters who followed the measure in the media were more likely to oppose it, and (c) proposed alternative initiatives in support of equal opportunity contributed to the measure's defeat.[9]


  1. ^ David Montero (April 24, 2008). "Suit filed over Amendment 46", Rocky Mountain News.
  2. ^ Blake Wesley (April 16, 2008). "Colorado Anti-Affirmative Action Legislation Amendment 46 Archived 2008-10-10 at the Wayback Machine",
  3. ^ Jerd Smith (September 29, 2008). "Ritter: Amendment 46 'undercuts Colorado'", Rocky Mountain News.
  4. ^ Associated Press (June 10, 2008). "Group Opposes Anti-Affirmative Action Measure[permanent dead link]", KCNC-TV.
  5. ^ Dan Hayes Denver Ballot Proposal A Success The Minutemen Civil Defense Corps
  6. ^ Unions may lose a labor-state The Union News, April 10, 2008
  7. ^ "Canvass Results – General Election 2008". Secretary of State of Colorado. Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
  8. ^ Michele Moses, et. al (September, 2010). "Investigating the Defeat of Colorado’s Amendment 46: An Analysis of the Trends and Principal Factors Influencing Voter Behaviors. Archived 2011-10-13 at the Wayback Machine", Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights.
  9. ^ Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights (December 17, 2010). "Report Analyzes Successful Campaign to Defeat Colorado’s Anti-Equal Opportunity Ballot Measure. Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine"