Oklahoma City_Representative Mike Shelton has teamed with several organizations to form the Decline to Sign Coalition. This group urges voters not to sign an anti-equality petition. An organization calling itself the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative (OCRI) is circulating a statewide petition that will end equal opportunity in Oklahoma. Voters are being deceived into thinking that this petition will end job discrimination when it will actually create it.
If the petition is successful in placing a question on the 2008 ballot that enacts a change in state law, the effects will be devastating. The petition may threaten programs such as science and technology training for girls, higher education funding for minority health professionals, domestic violence programs and breast cancer screenings.
Other states where anti-equal-opportunity measures were passed have seen a significant decrease in the hiring of women by employers. Washington State experience a decline in the share of Seattle public works contracts awarded to women or minority owned firms after a similar amendment was passed.
"It is deplorable that the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative would claim to be associated in any way with the concept of civil rights. This group has been cited for intentionally misleading voters to persuade them to sign petitions," said Shelton. "When an organization uses deceptive tactics to get voter signatures, it weakens the democratic process."
The Decline to Sign Coalition's goals are to educate voters of what the OCRI petition actually does, urge voters not to sign the petition and encourage voters who were misled into signing the petition to contact the Secretary of State.
For further information, please contact Representative Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org.