Elections | Local

Was Racially Polarized Voting On Display In Wash. Primary?

Northwest News Network | Sept. 26, 2012 3:53 p.m.

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Washington Supreme Court Justice Steve Gonzalez. Photo by Washington Courts

Washington Supreme Court Justice Steve Gonzalez. Photo by Washington Courts

There’s more evidence that a Hispanic last name on the ballot can hurt a candidate’s chances. A statistical analysis released Wednesday reveals patterns of racially polarized voting in a Supreme court race on Washington’s August primary. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details.]

Steve Gonzalez actively campaigned statewide to keep his seat on the Washington Supreme Court and spent some $300,000. His opponent, Bruce Danielson, raised no money and didn’t even campaign.

Even so, Danielson outpolled Gonzalez two-to-one in some parts of the state.

University of Washington political scientist Matt Barreto says a court-approved statistical analysis of the voting patterns reveals Gonzalez’s last name hurt him.

“We now actually have data that shows very clearly that in places like Yakima and Grant counties and other counties in central Washington there was a clear racial correlation with the voting results.”

Gonzalez still won the vote statewide.

Barreto is part of a coalition pushing for a controversial state Voting Rights Act. It would allow lawsuits against local governments where there’s evidence of racially polarized voting.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 N3. To see more, visit http://www.nwnewsnetwork.org/.

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