Voting is a basic UU Value

...and the Senate Rules Committee is blocking a floor vote on the Washington State Voting Rights Act. UU Voices for Justice is one of 35 organizations that recently sent a letter to the legislators, urging their support for the bill. The letter is after the jump. Sen. Hasakawa recently was blocked in the Senate Rules Committee from bring the bill to the floor. Tell your senators to support it with this one-click email from the ACLU. 

 

April 13, 2015

Dear Senators:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we urge you to pass House Bill 1745/Senate Bill

5668, the Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA). We support the WVRA because we

believe that in a democracy, everyone’s vote should count equally. Yet in some

jurisdictions, significant communities, including many communities of color, are not

represented in local government. The WVRA empowers local governments to take the lead

in fixing this problem, with solutions tailored to fit local circumstances.

The WVRA Promotes Local Control

The WVRA recognizes that every local community is different. It does not mandate any

particular voting system. Instead, it provides a collaborative process and a roadmap for

local governments to tailor their own solutions to meet local needs. It keeps control in the

hands of local officials, rather than federal judges. And it allows local governments to hold

elections according to existing timetables, avoiding additional cost.

The WVRA Makes Government Accountable

The WVRA makes local government more accountable to the people it serves. Currently,

some communities do not have a voice in local government. The WVRA provides tools not

currently available in the law to provide solutions. The WVRA does not mandate

proportional representation or district-based elections, but instead, will give local

communities an equal opportunity to elect officials who represent their needs and interests,

helping to make elected bodies truly representative. This will help give all community

members, including those in communities of color that face historical and current barriers

to participation, a level playing field that gives them an equal opportunity to influence the

outcome of elections.

A State Voting Rights Act Helps Avoid Costly Federal Litigation

The federal Voting Rights Act focuses on litigation in federal court, which can be highly

complex and very costly. The city of Yakima recently was successfully sued under the federal

law, and its costs for the suit will run into the millions of dollars. Washington needs its own,

more flexible voting rights law. The WVRA not only protects our state’s communities, it also

provides cities a pathway to avoid expensive federal litigation. The provisions of the WVRA

allow ample time to act before going to court. And the bill includes strong protections

against frivolous lawsuits, as well as safe harbor for jurisdictions that make changes.

In sum, the WVRA will improve election processes, empower local governments, and

promote government accountability, ensuring that our democracy works for everybody.

Community members across Washington urge your support for its passage.

Sincerely,

21 Progress

American Civil Liberties Union of Washington

American Federation of Teachers Washington

APIAs for Civic Empowerment Votes

Economic Opportunity Institute

Fuse Washington

Islamic Civic Engagement Project

Latino Civic Alliance

Latino PAC of Washington

League of Women Voters of Washington

Legal Voice

National Organization for Women

Northwest Fair Housing Alliance

OneAmerica

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest

Progreso: Latino Progress Alliance

Real Change

Seattle National Organization for Women

SEIU 775

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

Sound Advocates for Retirement Action

Southwest WA League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC ) Council

Teamsters Local 117

The Washington Bus

UAW Local 4121

Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice

Washington State National Organization for Women

Washington Teamsters Joint Council 28

Washington Community Action Network

Washington Conservation Voters

Washington Education Association

Washington Environmental Council

Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Win/Win Network

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commented 2015-04-15 13:16:37 -0700 · Flag
Great news, Cheryl!
Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice - Washington
We empower Unitarian Universalists to give voice to our values in the political arena.