State Rep. Luis Moscoso is quite concerned about the voting rights of ethnic minorities, as we all should be. (Wednesday guest commentary, “Ensuring every voice, and vote, counts.”) To that end, he has his bill with the irresistible name, the Washington State Voting Rights Act through the state House, if not the other chamber.
The remedy in the bill is not unlike the fix in so many parts of nation that needed preclearance under the national Voting Rights Act (before it was mauled by the U.S. Supreme Court) when updating voting laws, that is single-member districts in place of at-large positions for city councils and county commissions, school districts and the like.
Rep. Moscoso reassured us that his bill makes sure that all voices are heard in local elections, everyone has a fair chance to be represented, everyone has a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice and a provision for solution where broken elections systems exclude communities from a fair chance at representation.
Those are lofty goals HB 1413 does not accomplish, as it does nothing for political minorities generally but rather only increasing the chances a greater number of ethnic minorities are elected to local office with a roughly corresponding number of elect that are less sensitive to an agenda to empower minority communities — of any kind — as their single-member districts will be overwhelming dominant culture.
Really, what serves the aspirations for enhanced political representation of any minority community is political representation for minorities of all kinds, not just ethnic. That’s real diversity, with the added benefit of taming just a bit, a dominant culture’s tendency to, well, dominate.
Let us hope Rep. Moscoso can sometime see there is a wonderful world beyond the single-member district like multimember districts, proportional representation, etc.
And while he’s expanding his horizons he might consider the cure for a very infirm national Voting Rights law might not be a big push for a congressional fix that’s still vulnerable to the courts but rather a constitutional amendment recognizing the fundamental right to vote,
(U.S. House Joint Resolution 44 is still waiting for it’s first co-sponsor from Washington) I hope Rep. Moscoso would add his name to the effort to memorialize Congress to adopt that and send it to the states.