The Yakima County Board of Commissioners has agreed to change how they are elected after being sued earlier this year by four residents and the organization OneAmerica.
The lawsuit claimed the current system of district-based voting for the primary, but at-large for all three County positions in the general election diluted the votes of Latinos.
According to a press release from OneAmerica, the new system will keep the district-based voting for all elections, and that all three seats will be up for election in 2022.
The County’s District 3 position is up this year currently held by Sunnyside resident LaDon Linde who was appointed to the seat last year.
He is being challenged by Autumn Torres.
In a statement, the current Board said they were concerned about the introduction of “Ranked-Choice” voting which they believe would have, “discouraged people
from voting and cause more voters to be disenfranchised.”
They stressed that voting should be about choosing someone you believe in.
Linde said he was glad they could reach a settlement since it was best for the county and that, “I still believe that one person, one vote is the best way for people to show their voting preference.”
OneAmerica says that although Latinos make up more than 50% of the County, only one has ever been elected to the Board.
The settlement was built to ensure that Latinos will hold the majority voting power as districts are redrawn.