Sunday, December 21, 2014

Voting Rights Act in Yakima, Part III: An Inclusive Compromise


This is the third installment regarding a recent federal court ruling finding the City of Yakima’s elections in violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). I write about how the City is offering a compromise remedy that better serves Latinos, if not all voters.

Soon after the summary ruling finding Yakima in violation of Sec. 2 of the VRA, political and opinion leaders suggested the City not appeal. Governor Jay Inslee wrote a letter to the city council saying, “I want to respectfully request that the Council send a clear message by voting to not appeal the Court’s decision and instead focus on implementing a plan to address this serious issue.” The Seattle Times editorial board wrote, that, “Yakima should abandon any notion of a costly appeal.” And guess what? Yakima did not appeal. It did however, offer a compromise that allows it to stand by its argument regarding representation for all of the city’s Latino voters — and not only those who are drawn into exclusive districts.