Affirmative action referendum losing in Washington state

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — More than two decades after Washington voters banned affirmative action in the state, a ballot measure seeking to amend that law was losing in early returns.

As of Tuesday night, Referendum 88 was being rejected by 52 percent of the state’s voters. It was trailing in all but four of the state’s 39 counties. Many counties were set to update their results late Wednesday afternoon.

R-88 asked voters whether they wanted to approve or reject Initiative 1000, which was passed by the Legislature in April. I-1000 amends current statutes that prohibit state government from discriminating against or giving preferential treatment to individuals or groups based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracting.

The initiative would allow the consideration of being part of a minority group to be a contributing factor for a qualified applicant but would ban mandatory quotas.