by Ben Adlin
Expanded voting rights, limits on disposable plastic utensils, and increased access to attorneys for young people questioned by police were among the changes to state law that took effect with the new year. While most laws passed during the last legislative session took effect in July, a number of notable changes didn’t take place until 2022.
Other newly effective laws include a ban on the use of Indigenous names and symbols for most school mascots or logos, the establishment of a new capital gains tax, and planned increases to the minimum wage both in Washington and the City of Seattle.
Here are some of the biggest new changes to Washington State law:
Continue reading New State Laws for 2022 Expand Voting Rights, Create Capital Gains Tax, and More
by Agueda Pacheco Flores
Exactly 60 years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. checked into the very same hotel where Monday, Nov. 8, his eldest son stood, echoing his father’s dreams of a more equitable country.
“I wasn’t given any guidance exactly in terms of how long to speak, so how long do y’all have?” Martin Luther King III said to laughter under a crystal chandelier at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, surrounded by media.
King III’s visit to Seattle culminates the Northwest African American Museum’s (NAAM) three-day event MLK60, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to Seattle in 1961. Like his own visit through Seattle then, the three-day event was packed with activities including an opening ceremony, vaccine drive, and book giveaway at Garfield High School on Saturday, as well as a community and performance event at the historic Mount Zion Baptist Church.
Continue reading Enduring Lessons of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 60th Anniversary of Seattle Visit
by Phil Manzano
It’s easy for those born in the United States to take the vote for granted.
But for those Annie Dimitras works with at the Refugee Women’s Alliance, or ReWA, the right to vote is taken seriously — almost like a sacred right.
“A lot of the people we work with at my organization are voting for the very first time, their very first opportunity,” said Dimitras, senior immigration & civic engagement program coordinator at ReWA. “They may be 70 and this is the first chance they’ve ever had to vote.”
Continue reading New Americans, New Right to Vote
by Agueda Pacheco Flores
With election night less than a week away, there is a lot of misinformation about voting rights that Chukundi Salisbury is working to get right.
Since he founded “UrbVote” in 2015, Salisbury has worked tirelessly to register voters in the South End. But he’s not just focusing on registering teens as young as 16, he’s also focusing on those who are on the furthest end of the margins.
Continue reading Local Org Urges Formerly Incarcerated People to Vote Because They Can
Even before the Washington State Legislature passed a bill to automatically reinstate voting rights to formerly incarcerated people this past spring. But that bill won’t go into effect until January of 2022.
The Morning Update Show — hosted by Trae Holiday and The Big O (Omari Salisbury) — is the only weekday news and information livestream that delivers culturally relevant content to the Pacific Northwest’s urban audience. Omari and Trae analyze the day’s local and national headlines as well as melanin magic in our community. Watch live every weekday at 11 a.m. on any of the following channels, hosted by Converge Media: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Periscope, and whereweconverge.com.
We also post the Morning Update Show here on the Emerald each day after it airs, so you can catch up any time of day while you peruse our latest posts.
Morning Update Show — Wednesday, June 9
LIVE — Naomi Ishisaka | Voting Rights in America | Is Support for the Value for Black Lives in Decline? | No Permit Issued for CHOP Celebration | The Politics of Homelessness
Continue reading The Morning Update Show — 6/9/21
by Datyous Mahmoudian
As someone who has experienced incarceration, I see voting rights restoration as a mark of good government. It sent me the message that “I matter” instead of reinforcing the stigma and second-class citizenship that are often experienced when people like me reenter our communities.
The recent passage of House Bill 1078 by our state legislature has cultivated a strong wave of hope and optimism from current and formerly incarcerated communities and their allies in Washington State. This new law will give new opportunity to thousands of politically disenfranchised people who want to make their voices heard by casting a vote for those who create the laws that govern our lives.
Continue reading OPINION: Voting Rights Restoration Bill’s Passage Brings Hope to Our Formerly Incarcerated Communities
by Joy Borkholder
(This article originally appeared on InvestigateWest and has been reprinted with permission.)
Marissa Reyes still doesn’t understand why her signature would cause her August 2020 Benton County primary ballot to be tossed out.
A letter from the county elections office challenging her signature came to her house in her hometown of Prosser. But Reyes had left for New York, where she had just finished college. Confused, neither Reyes nor her parents had the time to figure it all out before her ballot was rejected.
“I definitely felt annoyed and a little apathetic, but definitely not surprised,” Reyes recalled.
Continue reading Latino Voters Have Higher Than Average Ballot Signature Rejection Rates in Washington State
by Susan Fried
Sounds of cheering rose from the crowd as people lined up to drop their ballots into the ballot box by Garfield Community Center on Saturday, October 24. A group of about 100 people had marched from Pratt Fine Arts Center near 20th and Jackson to the ballot box on 23rd and Cherry to honor the memory of Rahwa Habte, a community organizer and a fierce advocate of voter rights.
Continue reading Rahwa Habte Memorial March to the Ballot Box
by Mark Van Streefkerk
If disabled people voted at the same rate as non-disabled people, there would have been 2.3 million more votes in the November 2018 elections. Breaking down barriers to access and getting votes counted is not a partisan issue; it’s part of a healthy democracy, and it’s the law. A new video series “Votes for Access,” hosted by writer and disability advocate Imani Barbarin, takes a look at the hindrances disabled citizens face when it comes to voting, and how accessible voting should be a priority for everyone, especially in the new normal of COVID-19 life.
Continue reading Vote for Access: New Video Series Addresses Obstacles Facing Disabled Voters
by Aaron Burkhalter
Nearly 100 years ago, Congress passed the 19th Amendment, granting white women the right to vote. It took another year for enough states to ratify the amendment, but many people would continue to wait for their right to vote. Jim Crow laws prevented black women and men from participating in the United States’ form of democracy.
Continue reading League of Women Voters panel discussion examines race and women’s suffrage