Action Alert
Take action to protect voting rights in Washington.
Tell Olympia to pass the WA Voting Rights Act
Everyone's vote should count and all voices need to be heard for government to be accountable, but some election systems prevent communities from being represented in local government. The Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA) empowers local governments to voluntarily change their voting systems to ensure all communities have a voice. It strengthens democracy, improves accountability, and avoids the risk of expensive federal litigation under the Federal Voting Rights Act. Tell your legislator to support the Washington Voting Rights Act.

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Take action to protect voting rights in Washington.
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I am writing to urge you to support HB 1800 and SB 6002: The Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA). In a healthy democracy, all voices are heard. However, the majority of Washington's local governments are required to use at-large voting in general elections, even for multi-member governing bodies. Under this system, the same majority of voters can decide the results for every council seat in a town, city, or county, which denies some communities a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice.

The WVRA removes this restriction and empowers local governments to work directly with their communities to fix outdated or unfair election systems without federal intervention or costly litigation. It benefits Washington jurisdictions and their communities by:

* Promoting local control: The WVRA focuses only on local voting systems, not state races, and recognizes that every community is different. It does not require the election of any particular candidate or the adoption of any specific electoral system, nor does it change the results of past elections. Instead, it empowers local governments to tailor voting systems in a way that fits local needs. It keeps control over these systems in the hands of local officials, rather than federal judges.

* Avoiding costly litigation: The WVRA provides a clear roadmap to avoid litigation, establishes timelines that give jurisdictions time to respond, and has strong protections against frivolous lawsuits, as well as safe harbor for jurisdictions that make changes.

* Providing a proven solution: The WVRA is modeled on the 2002 California Voting Rights Act, which has improved local elections systems that have denied minority communities fair opportunities to vote for candidates of their choice.
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Voting rights litigation is expensive and avoidable. In a recent lawsuit brought under the federal Voting Rights Act, the U.S. District Court ordered the City of Yakima to change its voting system for city council elections. The City's legal costs in the case totaled over $3 million. The WVRA is an effective alternative to federal litigation that keeps control of local government in local hands. The legislature has a chance to empower jurisdictions, save money, and promote local autonomy. I urge you to support HB 1800 and SB 6002.
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