Federal judge adopts ACLU plan for Yakima redistricting - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Federal judge adopts ACLU plan for Yakima redistricting

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 YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - A federal judge has adopted a plan by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington for boosting the voice of Latinos in Yakima elections.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice ruled last summer that Yakima's system for city council elections "suffocates" the will of Latino voters. He asked the city and the ACLU chapter to come up with proposals for new systems.

In a ruling Tuesday, he adopted the ACLU's version. He said the city's plan would not have ensured Latinos were adequately represented.

The city will have seven voting districts, with council members elected from each. One of the districts is more than half made up of Latino citizens of voting age, and another is nearly half.

Previously council members have been elected city wide. No Latino has ever been elected, even though Yakima's population is more than 40 percent Latino.