Introduction: For decades, Washington’s electorate has been rapidly diversifying—but its elected representation has not. Against this backdrop, Washington enacted antidiscrimination legislation, the Washington Voting Rights Act (“WVRA” or the “Act”), that established a simple principle: All the State’s residents, regardless of their race, must be afforded equal voting opportunity. Within the bounds of that antidiscrimination guardrail, local jurisdictions retain broad discretion to define the method and manner of elections. The rights the WVRA creates flow to members of all racial groups, and the remedies it envisions can be entirely race-neutral. To the extent that the WVRA requires consideration of race at all—to show racially polarized voting—it expressly binds itself to federal case law. Yet Appellant James Gimenez argues that these equal protection efforts are at odds with the Equal Protection Clause, rendering the Act facially unconstitutional. That conclusion is as wrong as it sounds.
David B. Owens and Civil Rights and Justice Clinic, Brief of Law School Clinics Focused on Civil Rights as Amici Curiae, Portugal v. Franklin County, Washington State Supreme Court Docket No. 100999-2 (2023), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-court-briefs/67