A new legislative session, and a new opportunity to give testimony. This week I represented the Jewish Federation and the Faith Action Network in support of the Washington Voting Rights Act at a committee hearing. Text is below, click here for video link.
Chair and members of the committee, my name is Rabbi Seth Goldstein and I serve the local Jewish community here in Olympia. I am here representing the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and the Faith Action Network in support of the Washington State Voting Rights Act.
I recognize that this is an issue that one may not normally associate with faith communities. But this bill is in keeping with our faith perspective because is it, at its base, an issue of morality and justice.
Our democracy is founded on the principle that all people are created equal, and that governments exist to preserve and protect the rights that are granted to us. One of those fundamental rights is the ability to participate in our governance through the ballot box. It is incumbent upon our systems of voting and civic participation to ensure that all communities have the chance to elect candidates of their choice. Even Scripture reads that there should be “one law for all people.”
Too often, the systems of elections in our state do not allow fair representation. This has the result that segments of the population are underrepresented in local governments, and too often, this underrepresentation affects minority populations. In the spirit of racial and economic justice, our voting system needs reform. It is not just a technical issue, but a moral one.
This bill is an important step to make our state a more just one that honors all of its citizens.