The city of Yakima hasn’t thrown in the towel yet on its legal fight with the ACLU, but county elections officials said Wednesday they are moving ahead with implementation of a court-ordered redistricting plan for the city. Yakima County Auditor Charles Ross said the decision was made Wednesday after consulting with the county’s attorneys. Ross, whose office oversees municipal and county elections, said updating the information in the county’s voter registration system would take about three days and will likely begin next week. “Our position is we’re going to implement the judge’s order,” Ross said.
The county has finished preparing new electoral maps for Yakima and redrawn precincts to fit within the seven geographic districts ordered by a federal judge in February. The county has notified the chairs of the local Republican and Democratic parties of the changes, Ross said, which included creation of nine new precincts to prevent any overlap with district boundaries.
The auditor has not prepared a similar plan reflecting the city’s proposed redistricting, which the federal judge rejected.
The candidate filing period for local elections opens for mail-in applicants April 27, but Yakima officials are mulling an appeal of a federal judge’s order to elect all seven seats under a new district plan this year. The order follows a successful lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington alleging Yakima’s hybrid of district and at-large voting suppresses Latino interests in violation of the Voting Rights Act.