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Supreme Court Won’t Revive Washington Voting Map Said to Hurt Hispanics

U.S.Supreme Court Won’t Revive Washington Voting Map Said to Hurt Hispanics

The Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to reinstate a voting map for the Washington State Legislature that a federal judge had found discriminated against Hispanic voters.

As is the court’s custom when it acts on emergency applications, its brief order gave no reasons. There were no noted dissents.

The case arose from a lawsuit by Hispanic voters who challenged a voting district in the Yakima Valley region that had been drawn by the state’s independent redistricting commission after the 2020 census. The plaintiffs said the district violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting their ability to elect their preferred candidates.

The case had some unusual features, notably that a majority of the challenged district’s voting age population was Hispanic.

In rejecting the map in August, Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the Federal District Court in Seattle said the issue was more complicated than that raw number suggested.

“The question in this case is whether the state has engaged in line-drawing which, in combination with the social and historical conditions in the Yakima Valley region, impairs the ability of Latino voters in that area to elect their candidate of choice on an equal basis with other voters,” he wrote. “The answer is yes.”

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