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The legislature finds that electoral systems that deny race, color, or language minority groups an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice are inconsistent with the right to free and equal elections as provided by Article I, section 19 and Article VI, section 1 of the Washington state Constitution as well as protections found in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution. The well-established principle of "one person, one vote" and the prohibition on vote dilution have been consistently upheld in federal and state courts for more than fifty years.
The legislature also finds that local government subdivisions are often prohibited from addressing these challenges because of Washington laws that narrowly prescribe the methods by which they may elect members of their legislative bodies. The legislature finds that in some cases, this has resulted in an improper dilution of voting power for these minority groups. The legislature intends to modify existing prohibitions in state laws so that these jurisdictions may voluntarily adopt changes on their own, in collaboration with affected community members, to remedy potential electoral issues so that minority groups have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice or influence the outcome of an election.
The legislature intends for this chapter to be consistent with federal protections that may provide a similar remedy for minority groups. Remedies shall also be available where the drawing of crossover and coalition districts is able to address both vote dilution and racial polarization.
The legislature also intends for this chapter to be consistent with legal precedent from Mt. Spokane Skiing Corp. v. Spokane Co. (86 Wn. App. 165, 1997) that found that noncharter counties need not adhere to a single uniform county system of government, but that each county have the same "authority available" in order to be deemed uniform.


Explanatory statement2019 c 64: See note following RCW 1.20.110.
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