skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

How Could Ranked-Choice Voting Benefit Yakima County?

play audio
Play

Thursday, August 13, 2020   

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Voting-rights groups want Yakima County residents to rank candidates in elections.

How would that benefit the county?

Latino community members and other groups have sued the Board of Yakima County Commissioners under the Washington Voting Rights Act, alleging the current election system disenfranchises the large Latino population.

Colin Cole, policy director for the group More Equitable Democracy said under ranked choice, winning candidates would need to get at least 25% of votes.

He said under the new system, if a voter's preferred candidate failed to reach that threshold, their second choice would move to the top of their list.

"If you can walk into an ice cream shop, you ask for rocky road, and they say they don't have it - if you understand that you don't have to leave the store because you have a second choice - if you get that, you get ranked-choice voting," Cole explained.

Latinos make up about half of the county's population. For its countywide elections of three seats, Latinos have only won a seat once.

The city of Yakima faced a similar issue and drew districts to create better representation. But Cole noted Latinos are widely dispersed throughout the county, making districts less effective.

Aaron Hamlin, executive director for the Center for Election Science, said there are many varieties of ranked-choice voting.

He said the process has to be well-explained and transparent to the public to work effectively, but has potential to create better representation.

"It would definitely give people more of a sense of involvement and empowerment," Hamlin said. "And seeing that through their vote they're actually having a meaningful outcome in terms of making sure that people who represent them are being elected."

Robin Engle, communications and development director for OneAmerica, said the Latino population in Yakima County has been frustrated with the commission, especially in response to COVID-19, which is disproportionately affecting Latinos.

"We heard again and again that the county commission doesn't represent the Latino community, doesn't invest in the Latino community," Engle said. "And that just the way that the democracy is working in Yakima County isn't working."

The Board of Yakima County Commissioners is being sued under the Washington Voting Rights Act but could settle the case.

Commissioners have expressed interest in working with the community to come up with a solution. Two dozen jurisdictions across the country have adopted ranked-choice voting.

Disclosure: Center for Election Science contributes to our fund for reporting on Campaign Finance Reform/Money in Pol, Civic Engagement, Civil Rights. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
An Associated Press/NORC poll found 47% of people are unlikely to purchase an electric vehicle, with the biggest reason being the high cost. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

As New York and New Jersey transition to electric vehicles, consumers have mixed feelings about it. Polls show fewer than half of New York drivers …


Environment

play sound

Kentucky will receive $74 million to clean up legacy pollution in regions decimated by decades of coal mining. The money is part of $725 million in …

Social Issues

play sound

Legislation in Connecticut could help reduce the ongoing child care workforce shortage Reports show some 40,000 child care positions unfilled…


Of more than 7,300 lawmakers nationwide, just 116, or 1.6%, currently or last worked in manual labor, service industry, clerical or labor union jobs. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Half of Americans go to work every day in the service industry, doing clerical work or in construction and other manual labor jobs but fewer than 2% …

Health and Wellness

play sound

The Food and Drug Administration has advised makers of the COVID-19 vaccine to formulate the next dosage to fight the JN.1 strain of the virus…

New data show nearly 30% of Generation Z adults identify as LGBTQ+, according to the Human Rights Campaign. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Full-time LGBTQ+ workers make about 90 cents for every dollar earned by the average worker in the U.S. Today is LGBTQ+ Equal Pay Awareness Day…

Environment

play sound

About 1.6 million acres of Great Plains grasslands were destroyed in 2021 alone, according to a recent report, an area the size of Delaware. One …

Social Issues

play sound

Help is available for people looking to break out of a low-wage, "go-nowhere" job because the nonprofit Merit America is expanding its training …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021