A proposed state Voting Rights Act remains alive this legislative session, but the odds of it passing the Republican-controlled Senate remain dim. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats attempted to pull Senate Bill 5668 from committee for a floor vote, but the motion was defeated along party lines, 26-23. However, this morning the Democratic-controlled House passed its own version of the Voting Rights Act by a vote of 52-46, again along party lines. It’s the third straight year that Democrats in Olympia have sought aggressively to move the bill forward. The law would allow residents to petition state courts for changes to local elections systems they believe violate the rights of protected minorities and other voters.
The law would apply to local elections except those in localities with less than 1,000 residents or school districts with less than 250 students.
Similarly to the federal Voting Rights Act, the law allows for remedies such as redistricting to give fair representation to minorities. The state law would also require the plaintiff to give a locality 180 days notice before filing suit in court.