After successfully suing to change city elections, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is now hiring someone to turn out the vote in Yakima this year. The ACLU of Washington is advertising for a full-time voter engagement advocate to lead an education campaign in the city during the 2015 elections. ACLU spokesman Doug Honig said the search may be expanded to include a second hire. The campaign will be primarily directed at Latinos, a growing part of the community that was at the heart of the ACLU’s voting rights lawsuit against the city. “We want to make sure people take advantage of this new system and vote,” said Honig, based in Seattle. “Who they vote for is obviously up to them.”
The job includes targeting specific precincts to get voters interested in the elections, organizing candidate forums, speaking at public events and partnering with other organizations to increase voter turnout among Latinos in Yakima. Qualified candidates must have two years of grass-roots organizing and be bilingual.
The ACLU says the position is nonpartisan, but Yakima County Republicans Chairwoman Benine McDonnell said she believes it’s an effort by the ACLU to elect liberals to the Yakima City Council. City Council races are nonpartisan and candidates do not state party preference on the ballot, although many current and former members have been active in party politics on their own time.