The Yakima City Council will ask a federal judge to reconsider his decision in the city’s voting rights case with the American Civil Liberties Union, a move that will reset the clock on an appeal and give members more time to weigh their options. The decision was made Tuesday night during the council’s regular meeting. The vote was 6-0, with Councilman Rick Ensey absent. U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice of Spokane will have to respond to the motion to reconsider, which some people even in Yakima city government expect to be denied. However, it would give the city a new 30-day window to file an appeal after Rice responds to the motion. The city’s attorneys were expected to file the motion before midnight Tuesday.
In the same vote to seek a reconsideration, the council also moved to file an opposition brief to the ACLU’s claim for more than $2.8 million in legal costs and fees associated with the case. Council members called the $2.8 million excessive.
The ACLU now has seven days to respond.
The case dates to August 2012, when the ACLU filed suit against Yakima’s City Council elections system on behalf of residents Rogelio Montes and Mateo Arteaga. They argued a pattern of racially polarized voting was preventing Latinos from being elected under the current hybrid of district voting for four seats in the primary and at-large voting for all seven seats in the general election.