Yakima County is facing a lawsuit filed Monday by the group OneAmerica and four others saying the county election system is unfair to Latino voters. The group who filed the lawsuit in Kittitas County Superior Court say the system is a violation of the state's Voting Rights Act. A video news conference was held Monday to announce the action. OneAmerica filed the suit along with four others, former Sunnyside Councilwoman Evangelina Bengie Aguilar, former Yakima City Councilwoman Candy Dulce Gutierrez, and former political candidates Susan Soto Palmer and Rogelio Montez. The county currently uses a system in which the top two candidates advance to the general election, it's similar to a system that was used by the city of Yakima before the city was sued by the ACLU in 2012.
The suit names as defendants Yakima County Commissioners Vicki Baker, Norm Childress and Ron Anderson. The lawsuit was filed Monday after the group says the county failed to respond to a letter sent in January. But county officials dispute that and saying they've asked for an extension to respond while continuing to work towards a solution.