I have lived in Spokane for most of my life. One of the reasons I feel a connection to Spokane is that our local government represents our community, i.e., electing our City Council members by district. I have taken this for granted, but I know that many Washingtonians don’t have a voice because of at-large systems of elections.
The case that drove this home for me was a school board election in Yakima in which a community of Hispanic parents organized around Graciela Villanueva. Despite a large community of parents organizing around her, and her opponent dropping out of the race, Villanueva still lost, 38 percent to 61 percent.
We have an opportunity right now to address election systems that deny everyone having a voice in our democracy by passing the Washington Voting Rights Act out of the Washington Senate.
I believe that communities are strongest when everyone has a voice. We all deserve to be listened to when we have concerns about our kids’ educations, our public safety and our quality of life. It’s time to pass the Washington Voting Rights Act, which will allow for fair representation in local jurisdictions.
President, League of Women Voters, Spokane Area