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Judge dismisses challenge to redistricting map for Central Washington

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(The Center Square) – The Ninth Circuit Court has dismissed an emergency motion regarding a recent federal court ruling on legislative district boundaries in Central Washington affecting the state’s first Hispanic lawmaker.

The court said the petitioners lacked standing on the case.

The new district boundaries map was approved by a federal judge on March 15, with the boundaries intended to amplify the voice of Latino voters in the Yakima Valley in time for elections this Fall.

In a ruling last August, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik mandated the reworking of district maps drawn in 2021, citing violations of the Voting Rights Act.

But the new boundaries come at the expense of relocating five Republican lawmakers, including Latina state Sen. Nikki Torres, who represents a substantial portion of the affected area.

No Democrat lawmakers are impacted by the new district boundaries.

Senate Republican Leader John Braun and House Republican Deputy Leader Mike Steele issued the following statement regarding the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision to dismiss the emergency motion to stay:

“We are profoundly disappointed by the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision on the emergency motion to delay these district changes. What’s even more troubling is the district court’s decision on March 15 to alter these maps doesn’t seem to address the claimed core issue, namely the dilution of the political voice of the Latino electorate in the Yakima Valley. The new map results in fewer eligible Latino voters in the area and moves their elected representative, the first-ever Latina senator in Central Washington, entirely out of their district.”