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Published on Monday, February 23, 2015

Voting Rights Act gets amended, making its way through Legislature

HB 1745 and SB 5668, bills establishing a Washington State Voting Rights Act (VRA), both saw executive action taken last week and are making their way through the Legislature. SB 5668 was passed out of committee on February 20 with no amendments and sent to the Rules Committee for second reading. HB 1745 was passed out of committee on February 18 and referred to Rules. However, it did see amendments.

Those amendments are favorable to cities, and we appreciate the sponsors noting our concerns and making changes. They include:

  • Extending the notice period to 180 days before legal action may be initiated;
  • Allowing political subdivisions to work in good faith with claimants and to seek a court order acknowledging compliance with any proposed remedy that differs from the remedy in the notice;
  • Limiting any special candidate filing period to three days, if required to comply with a court-ordered remedy;
  • Directing courts to use federal case law for guidance in interpreting provisions of this act;
  • Prohibiting any fees or costs to be awarded if no legal action is filed; and
  • Creating an intent section.

AWC remains concerned with other provisions of the bill and will continue to monitor its progress and provide updates as they occur. For a full list of these concerns see our previous Bulletin article on the VRA. Questions about the Voting Rights Act should be directed to Victoria Lincoln.

Categories: General government