School official elected without campaign resigns

YAKIMA — A woman who won a Yakima school board post without campaigning has resigned eight months after her controversial election.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports last year Jeni Rice was elected to the Yakima board with 61 percent of the vote, despite dropping out of the race weeks before. Rice did not notify state officials in time to remove her name from the ballot.

Rice defeated appointee and incumbent Graciela Villanueva, adding fuel to the debate that Yakima’s at-large elections were racially polarizing.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that Yakima’s at-large elections violate the Voting Rights Act by limiting the participation of Latinos. The Rice election was one of the examples cited by U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice.

Rice is resigning because she is starting a tutoring company, which would be a conflict of interest.

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