February 12, 2016
Fuse Washington named Rep. Luis Moscoso (D-Bothell) as the "Legislator of the Week" for his leadership on the Washington Voting Rights Act.
The state House passed HB 1745, which would help fix outdated and discriminatory election systems and ensure fair representation. It would also increase civic participation in populations that have been historically underrepresented in local government. The bill establishes a process to challenge local voting systems that disenfranchise communities. The process is quicker, easier, and less expensive than going through federal courts.
"Rep. Luis Moscoso is a leading advocate to ensure every Washingtonian's voice and vote are heard," said Collin Jergens, Communications Director of Fuse Washington. "His work will ensure that all communities, regardless of race, have an equal opportunity to participate in our democracy."
The Washington Voting Rights Act has been under consideration in the state legislature since 2013, but has yet to pass through the Senate. This legislation would give cities in Washington a path to address racially polarized voting, avoiding costly legal battles like the one the city of Yakima recently lost.
This year's legislation seeks to create a simpler model for other cities to follow Yakima's lead in reforming their local election systems and ensure all voices are heard. Yakima's previous city-wide elections never before elected a Latino to the city council, despite the city being 40% Latino. After a long and difficult legal process, Yakima last year changed their system to elect councilmembers by districts. Last November, local voters elected three Latinas to the council, forever changing representation in the rapidly-growing city.
"Yakima's historic elections last year showed the potential to improve representation in cities across Washington," said Jergens. "Rep. Moscoso's work will empower local communities to elect councilmembers who look like the people they represent."
Previous winners of the "Legislator of the Week" award include Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett) for her work to increase accountability and transparency for aerospace tax breaks and Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) for her work to ensure equal pay for women.
Fuse Washington is the state's largest progressive advocacy organization - people creating change online, on the ground, and on issues that matter most. Learn more at www.FuseWashington.org