By Evan Smith Herald Writer
With the U.S. Supreme Court decision Tuesday that parts of the federal voting rights act are unconstitutional, Democratic state Rep. Luis Moscoso said that states need to act to protect minority voters.
The Supreme Court struck down a section of the Civil Rights Act passed in the mid-1960s. The section requires areas with a history of discrimination to verify that their voting systems don’t discriminate against any racial groups.
Moscoso and Democratic Rep. Sam Hunt of Olympia chairman of the House Government Operations and Elections Committee, have sponsored a state voting rights bill.
The two issued the following statement in response to this week’s Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act:
“We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. The whole point of the law is to ensure and uphold the voting rights of all people, regardless of race and ethnicity, but this new ruling will effectively remove those protections by eliminating the pre-clearance requirement.
“While we urge Congress to right this wrong to prevent voter disenfranchisement and discrimination, we also strongly believe it’s now more than ever up to the states to take the necessary steps to ensure the voices of every ethnic minority are heard in every election.
“This is precisely why we must take action and pass the Washington Voting Rights Act to guarantee voter involvement so that all communities across our state get a fair chance to elect the candidates of their choice in at-large elections.”
The proposed Washington voting rights act would create new voting systems in cities and districts where minority groups traditionally have been underrepresented.
Moscoso represents the 1st Legislative District, including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell.
Evan Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org