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Published on Friday, October 17, 2014

Concerns Remain Around Voting Rights Act

As noted in our last bulletin, conversations continue around voting rights in Washington after the federal court ruled the City of Yakima’s system for electing councilmembers violates the federal Voting Rights Act. AWC representatives attended several meetings throughout the past few months to discuss the issue. A legislative proposal is being developed, and is expected to be introduced in the 2015 legislative session.

AWC and local government representatives are concerned the bill creates a new path for litigation. Prior to the most recent meeting of stakeholders, AWC and other local government groups developed a detailed list of concerns. The local government partners include the Washington Association of Counties (WSAC), Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Washington Public Ports Association (WPPA), Washington Public Utility Districts (WPUDA), and Washington Fire Commissioners Association (WFCA). The group emphasized concerns over litigation that may not correct the problems of the lack diversity amongst candidates in local election systems, and also highlighted issues regarding timelines for implementation, fiscal impacts, and candidate recruitment challenges.

AWC is working closely with stakeholders, and continues to weigh in on this issue. We expect to see legislation introduced in the 2015 legislative session, similar to HB 1413 in 2014.

More information regarding the Yakima case can be found here.

Categories: General government