Big Changes Coming To Voting Rights And Access In Washington
Youth age 16 and 17 will soon be able to pre-register to vote in Washington. That’s just one of several voting-related bills the governor is scheduled to sign into law Monday.
Washington will join states like California, Oregon and Utah that already allow teens as young as 16 to pre-register to vote. Gov. Jay Inslee will also sign bills allowing for same-day voter registration and to allow customers of the state’s Health Benefit Exchange to automatically register to vote.
In addition, Inslee will sign into law a state Voting Rights Act that advocates have been fighting for for years. It allows members of a protected class of voters to bring a legal challenge if they feel their votes are being diluted by at-large elections.
This was an issue in the city of Yakima a few years ago where Latinos comprise 40 percent of the population, but held no seats on the city council. After a lawsuit forced a shift to district-based elections, three Latinos were elected to the council.
Finally, Inslee will sign a bill known as the DISCLOSE act designed to shed light on so-called “dark money” in politics. It will require all nonprofit organizations that spend $25,000 or more on campaigns and elections to file reports with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.
Supporters say it will lead to greater transparency in campaign spending by non-profits that don’t have a separate political committee. Opponents counter it’s an effort to muzzle free speech.
Yakima’s next council will likely be different. Only two Latina candidates ran for office this year, and just one has a lead — a narrow one — over her opponent. Yakima’s population is nearly half Latinx.
Continue Reading As Yakima Loses Latinx Representation On City Council, Organizers Wonder What Happened
The Associated Press declared Referendum 88 rejected late Tuesday afternoon, one week after Election Day. Soon after, the pro-affirmative action Washington Fairness Coalition sent out a concession statement. Continue Reading AP: Washington Voters Appear To Narrowly Reject Effort To Bring Back Affirmative Action
The only Latina candidate running for Yakima City Council appears to have lost her bid. That means Yakima — the population of which is nearly 50 percent Latinx — will likely be governed by an all-white council for the first time since 2015. Continue Reading UPDATE: Latinx People Make Up Half of Yakima. The City Council May End Up With No Latinx Members