Tomorrow, millions of Michiganders will read the same 144 words: a short summary of Proposal 2, an initiative that would ban public-sector racial and gender preferences in Michigan.

Morgan Morel

These 144 words are contentious. Neither side of the debate wholeheartedly endorses the ballot language in its final form. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative Committee, the organization that drafted the proposal and collected 508,000 signatures to place it on the ballot, protested the use of the phrase “affirmative action.” One United Michigan, a coalition of groups opposing the measure, said the final summary was confusing.

But after several months of battling the State Board of Canvassers, which approves ballot language for proposals, both groups grudgingly accepted the working that will appear on tomorrow’s ballot.

Now it’s up to voters to interpret what these words mean and decide whether they believe in them. How they vote could dramatically change the way the University operates.

Here’s what three experts and one student think about the language:

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