Affirmative Action Opponents Say They're Close to Statewide Vote

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Opponents of affirmative action say they're close to putting the issue to a statewide vote in 2006.

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative must turn in 318,000 valid signatures of voters to qualify for the ballot.

The group must collect all those signatures within 180 days, which would bring a January deadline for an effort that began last summer.

They back a state constitutional amendment barring state universities and agencies from giving preference based on race, national origin, or sex.

A group called Citizens for a United Michigan opposes the proposal.