Wash. lawmakers consider race-based voting rules
Thursday, January 26, 2012
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Washington state lawmakers are weighing legislation to make it easier for minorities to get elected to local government posts.
Minority-rights advocates at a House committee hearing Thursday testified in favor of the bill, which would allow court challenges to election results when candidates with strong minority support are unable to get elected in city or county-wide elections.
The bill is modeled on a 2002 California law encouraging court challenges to cities, counties and school districts to push them to switch from at-large to district elections in areas where large minority groups are present.
Proponents of the bill point to Yakima, which is 41 percent Hispanic but has never elected a Hispanic member to its at-large city council. They say changing to district elections would all but ensure Hispanic representation on the council.