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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Washington state election system should consider minority populations

Bills provide for democracy

I applaud the views expressed in the editorial “Local voting rights,” [Opinion, Feb. 8]. This is our state’s chance to ensure all communities have fair representation in local elections.

Many East African immigrants come from countries where they are denied the opportunity of having their voices heard on political issues. When they move here, they are excited to take part in this country’s democracy. Unfortunately, I feel that despite the promise of American democracy, many communities still lack fair representation and have no input in important decisions that affect their communities’ well-being, their children’s education and public safety.

The communities’ lack of a say in government severely jeopardizes trust, and is harmful for democracy and society. Giving all communities a voice in elections is a crucial part of American politics. Democracy, more than the right to vote, involves the right to have that vote count, to know you have an equal opportunity to elect candidates of your choice and to influence local elections, regardless of the color of your skin or the neighborhood you live in.

I urge people to contact and ask their legislators to support HB 1413 and SB 5473.

–Yemane Gebremicael, president, African Diaspora of Washington, Seattle

Comments | More in Politics, Race | Topics: HB 1413, immigrant communities, racial minorities

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