Yakima, WA: The Yakima city council voted this week to give themselves more time to decide if the council will appeal a recent federal court ruling invalidating its at-large method of electing city council members. The Hispanic population in the city is 42% and Hispanic voters had been unable to an elect a candidate of their choosing in the at-large scheme. The court had to make a finding of racially polarized voting in past election to invalidate the at-large system.
The recent court ruling required the city to divide voters into districts, both the city and the ACLU -who was a plaintiff in the case – submitted district maps, but the court settled on the ACLU’s map. Yakima City Council members however, have not gotten used to the court mandate, which includes new elections for every council seat, under the new “ACLU-drawn” map. According to its attorney, the council strongly believes that its proposed map is better, and they seem to be buying time to launch an appeal. That is why members voted to make a motion to court to reconsider its judgment; this gives the council more time to file an appeal.