By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California voters have rejected Proposition 16, which if passed would have restored affirmative action in the state.

Prop. 16 was losing by a margin of 56.07% to 43.93% with 71.6% of precincts reporting. The Associated Press projected Wednesday morning that Prop. 16 had been defeated.

If approved, Prop. 16 would have repealed Proposition 209, which was passed in 1996 and outlawed race, ethnicity and gender to be considered regarding the awards of government contracts and state college admission.

The measure was prompted by the rising debate over systemic racism in public institutions, with supporters saying it will improve access and opportunities for under- represented groups. But opponents say the measure legalizes discrimination and preferential treatment based on race and ethnicity.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)