skip to main content

Friday, June 9, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Former President Donald J. Trump first ever to face federal charges in 7 count indictment; the Supreme Court strikes down Alabama's Congressional Maps; Canadian wildfires affect the health of humans and wildlife.

play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court upholds a key provision of the Voting Rights Act over Alabama redistricting, smoky skies could spell EPA trouble for some states, and President Biden calls on Congress to pass LGBTQ+ protections.

play newscast audioPlay

Rural communities launch projects with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a study says rural transgender adults feel less supported than those in urban areas, and a summer road trip could mean majestic scenic byways or a sprinkling of donut shops.

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
Guns to Gardens volunteers in New Hampshire are working against what are considered among the weakest gun laws in the country. State law does not require background checks on all gun sales, or limit access to firearms by people in crisis. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Community volunteers in New Hampshire are turning unwanted firearms into garden tools as part of a nationwide effort to reduce gun violence. Under …


Social Issues

play sound

Parents and educators in the Houston Independent School District said they are all for improving schools but do not believe a state takeover by an une…

Social Issues

play sound

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling on a 5-to-4 vote Thursday, deciding Alabama's 2022 congressional maps violated the Voting Rights …


Alaska has more than 322 million acres of public lands, more than three times the acreage of the entire state of California. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

The Bureau of Land Management has announced a $161 million investment in habitat and wildland restoration projects in 11 western states. Alaska is …

Environment

play sound

As smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets New York and much of the East Coast, it's causing a wide range of health effects - and not just for people…

Connexus Energy operates a 'solar meadow' at its headquarters in Ramsey, Minn. (Photo courtesy of Fresh Energy)

Environment

play sound

By Elizabeth Hewitt for Reasons to be Cheerful.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Net…

Social Issues

play sound

To fight such pressing issues as housing shortages and increasing crime rates in cities across the country, many of the nation's mayors are taking …

Health and Wellness

play sound

As part of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, mental-health advocates in Iowa are sharing information about Alzheimer's and say two new drugs …

 

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