POLITICS

In wake of federal lawsuit, 2 Latinas win seats on Yakima city council for first time

WATERLOO, IA - SEPTEMBER 27: Voting booths are set up for early voting at the Black Hawk County Courthouse on September 27, 2012 in Waterloo, Iowa. Early voting starts today in Iowa where in the 2008 election 36 percent of voters cast an early ballot.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

WATERLOO, IA - SEPTEMBER 27: Voting booths are set up for early voting at the Black Hawk County Courthouse on September 27, 2012 in Waterloo, Iowa. Early voting starts today in Iowa where in the 2008 election 36 percent of voters cast an early ballot. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

In the wake of a federal court lawsuit, Hispanic candidates have for the first time been elected to the Yakima City Council.

Two Latina candidates won council seats on Tuesday and a third was leading her opponent.

This was the first election since the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city under the federal Voting Rights Act, demanding that the community's election system be changed to give Hispanics a better chance of winning elections.

Yakima, which has about 90,000 residents, is about 40 percent Hispanic. The agricultural community is located 140 miles east of Seattle.

The number of Hispanic residents has exploded in the central portion of Washington in recent decades, with some communities becoming majority-Hispanic. But political clout has not following the population gains.

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