Latino voters, ACLU sue Yakima over council system

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Associated Press

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 22 at 11:02 PM

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Two Yakima residents are suing the city in federal court, claiming its election system effectively prevents Latinos from being represented in city council elections.

Yakima has four council members who represent districts and three at-large members, but the district candidates are only selected in the primary election. Every resident casts votes for each council seat in the general election.

Civil rights advocates contend the method dilutes the Latino vote and blocks minority representation. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court on behalf of university administrator Mateo Arteaga and Rogelio Montes, a student.

Yakima has more than 91,000 residents, and its population is 41 percent Hispanic. No Latino has ever won an election for a seat on the city council.

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