OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The House has passed a measure to reform representation of minorities in local elections.
The "Washington Voting Rights Act" passed Thursday on a 53-44 vote. The measure allows for minority individuals or groups to seek court-mandated orders to jurisdictions to reform their elections. Those jurisdictions include towns and cities of 1,000 people or more, school districts, fire districts, counties, ports among others. Among the remedies is shifting from at-large elections to district-based elections to better represent residents.
The push behind the measure is the history of elections in Central and Eastern Washington, specifically Yakima County where the American Civil Liberties filed a lawsuit last year against the city of Yakima. Forty-one percent of Yakima's 91,000 residents are Latino but the city has never elected a Latino member to its at-large city council.