On a 53-43 vote on Monday, House lawmakers approved the Voting Rights Act, which opens the possibility of court challenges to cities, counties and school districts to push them to switch from at-large to district elections in areas where large minority groups are present.
The measure now heads to the Senate, where it will likely die. The Senate is controlled by a Republican-dominated coalition. Republicans in the House opposed the measure.
At the heart of the measure is the history of elections in Central and Eastern Washington where the population of Latinos has grown but minority advocates say representation in local offices remains low.
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