Tag: redistricting


Redistricting: Western Washington Legislative Map Will Offer Balanced Political Landscape

The Washington State Redistricting Commission will unveil its proposals for Western Washington’s legislative districts during a public meeting in Olympia scheduled for 10:30am this morning, new maps that are expected to receive approval from the four commissioners and allow the process to move on to creating the maps for congressional districts and legislative districts in Eastern Washington, a source on the commission tells NW Daily Marker.

Early indications are that the bipartisan commissioners will propose a political landscape on which both parties can see reasonable opportunities to compete, an outcome that could allow Republicans to expand on growing support in the Democrat-dominated western half of the state.

Because the commissioners divided into two teams working the western half of the state in this first phase – one working from King County north, the other focusing on the southwest quadrant – it is likely some rough edges along the Pierce and King County border will need smoothing. Nevertheless, having successfully hacked through negotiations on the thornier areas on the eastside of King County and in Southwestern Washington, the air of optimism on the commission earlier this week appears to have been well-founded. Expect to see key districts in those areas shift from strongly favoring Democratic candidates to becoming swing districts in which Republicans will have opportunities to win by running strong issue-oriented races.

Did the Democrats blink in Southwestern Washington? Perhaps.

Though the 19th legislative district should still be reliably Democratic for the 2012 election, it will significantly change shape for the first time in almost 30 years, pushing deep into Republican areas in the west portion of Lewis County and forcing Democratic incumbents to rub elbows with new voters who may or may not roll out the welcome wagon.

Resolving differences on the political lines of legislative districts in Western Washington moves the commission one step forward to the main event—redrawing the boundaries for the state’s congressional districts and finding space to squeeze in the new 10th congressional seat.


[photo credit: most uncool]


With Time Ticking, Your Voice Matters in Redistricting | Guest Op-Ed

With the holidays upon us, it’s hard to think about politics. But intense negotiations are occurring in Olympia by the Washington State Redistricting Commission, which is trying to draw our state’s new boundaries for the 10 congressional and 49 legislative districts in the state. With a January 1, 2012 deadline looming, time is ticking away. And as each day passes, there is increasing concern that the Commission will not meet its deadline because of political maneuvering. A delay is bad for all of us.

So why this exercise of redistricting anyway? Washington’s population has increased by nearly 1 million people since our state was last redistricted in 2001. The purpose of this work is to ensure that every man, woman and child are fairly represented in the political process.

The Commission, comprised of four voting commissioners and one nonvoting chairman, have been at work on this for nearly a full year at a cost of $3 million in taxpayer dollars. Each commissioner is chosen by one legislative caucus in Olympia to advocate for them; Commissioner Tim Ceis, representing Senate Democrats, Commissioner Slade Gorton, representing Senate Republicans, Commissioner Dean Foster, representing House Democrats and Commissioner Tom Huff, representing House Republicans. Each has spent significant time on this critically important work, but if the commission is not able to come to agreement, the process is handed over to the State Supreme Court. Nine elected justices would have two months to draw the state’s district lines. If former elected officials are having trouble finishing this process, just imagine how difficult it will be for current elected officials to achieve.

The redistricting process has been transparent and informational, with regular website updates, maps showing potential boundaries, numerous community hearings and other opportunities for citizen feedback. Enterprise Washington recognizes that this work is complicated and difficult. But a bipartisan plan that keeps communities together is far more acceptable to most citizens than one developed by political tacticians. From the public’s viewpoint, all four commissioners are charged with taking the high road in keeping communities together rather than gerrymandering lines so that districts become dominated by one political party for the next ten years. Tactics to delay rather than negotiate could be interpreted as benefiting the party that has ruled Olympia since 1999, the Democratic Party.

As an organization committed to recruiting bright and dedicated men and women to run for office, we have additional concerns about redistricting delays. Many individuals are currently sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the commissioners to complete the redistricting process before throwing their hats into the ring. The window of opportunity for them to run for office is slowly being closed. This does not bode well for our commitment to build a high-caliber group of Democrats and Republicans in Olympia and Congress who are not career politicians, but have the passion, experience and willingness to make tough decisions on regulatory and competitiveness issues important to our state’s future.

The majority of Washingtonians pride themselves on being critical, independent thinkers. We understand that the foundation of democracy is fair and equal representation. These new legislative and congressional lines are the foundation for Washington state’s political leaders who write the laws and regulatory policy that is the backdrop for our state’s economic and educational competitiveness. If partisan politics gets the best of the Commission in these final days, our state’s prosperity and positioning in the world economy will suffer.

It’s time for these commissioners to quit stalling and instead deliver districts that are competitive, while keeping communities intact. And for those of us who have historically tuned out this exercise of redrawing district lines, it’s time to get involved by contacting members of the Commission directly at contact@redistricting.wa.gov or through social media at Twitter @RedistrictingWA or Facebook (search for “Washington State Redistricting Commission”). We also encourage you to write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Only through citizen engagement can this partisan negotiating be resolved before the January 1, 2012 deadline.

Democracy is not a spectator sport. You need to speak up now to keep communities intact and help ensure fair representation for all of us.


Erin McCallum is president of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Enterprise Washington (www.enterprisewashington.org) and the Business Institute of Washington (www.businessinstitutewa.org), which both help companies and employees better understand how elected officials establish public policy, and to become more involved in the political process.


[photo credit: Telstar Logistics]

Referee showing the red card

Who’s Afraid of the Race Card in Washington State? Maybe Democrats, For Now.

If dictionaries catered to all of our senses you would look up “redistricting” to see a picture of pillow, smell the aroma of warm milk, and hear the white noise of gently lapping ocean waves on the beach. To put it another way, it’s not a scintillating topic for those fortunate enough not to be obsessed with politics.

Even to those political junkies who get leg-tingles reading tax legislation, covering redistricting is more akin to a slow boat ride with Janet Napolitano. Using the word twice here in the first paragraph, I’m taking a serious risk that many readers won’t be with us when we get to the second paragraph.

Yet developments earlier this week in Washington State’s redistricting process continue to stimulate interesting questions about a possible role reversal in how Republicans and Democrats perceive minority concerns about fair representation.

The tipping point for my own interest being activated (perhaps yours, as well) came upon hearing a Democratic commenter admonish minorities that they be careful not to “shoot themselves in the foot.”

The comment came after the four members of the State Redistricting Commission revealed their maps for drawing Washington’s ten congressional districts after 2011 at a Tuesday morning public meeting in Olympia, Wash. For those who haven’t been following the redistricting process in Washington, some background is appropriate.

For several months earlier this year, the State Redistricting Commission heard a unified appeal from minorities and those advocating on their behalf at public forums across the state. Minorities made it clear that better representation from election officials is needed and the creation of a new congressional district in King County was universally cited as the appropriate first step toward achieving that goal.

The district proposed by minority voting groups would be a “majority-minority” seat, meaning that minorities would constitute a majority of the population according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Shock and surprise, however, when the redistricting commissioners presented their maps to the public on Tuesday. Both of the Commission’s Republicans situated a majority-minority district in King County, but only one of the Democrats chose to follow suit.

After maps had been unveiled, the meeting opened up for public comment, a session that led off with several people of color and people representing people of color, all of whom reiterated the complaint that they had not received adequate representation and ardently desired a King County district with a majority-minority demographic makeup.

At that point, Marianne Lincoln, a Bethel School Board member (though Lincoln made it clear she was not speaking only as a citizen), sat before the microphone to offer her view of the proposed majority-minority congressional district, an opinion that at moments sounded like a snippet from Orwell’s “Animal Farm”: [Watch video to right.]

“A thought came to me as I’m listening to all these people talking about the majority-minority district. There’s a lot of them, and they seem to be very well-organized. I also tend to lean toward the liberal side or the progressives, and so I favor a lot of what they believe in.

“But I also feel that when you put all the horses in the corral, the cows have the field to themselves and I don’t believe it’s a good idea to take a lot of minority people put them in one district and dilute every other district around them that may otherwise have more progressives … I want to remind them not to shoot themselves in the foot doing that…”

Wallace Webster, citizen, offered a response to Lincoln’s statement a few minutes later, informing the room, “We have not had a foot to shoot.” [Watch video to right.]

Webster may have been alluding to the fact the there has never been a majority-minority congressional district in Washington State. In that sense, creating one would be breaking new ground.

[The videos of the complete comments made by Lincoln and Webster are posted at the bottom of this article for context.]

Whether the patronizing attitude implied by Lincoln’s statement was unintended, as it perhaps was, the insinuation that minorities would be better served by putting their individual concerns behind the greater need for partisan unity was less ambivalent.

The redistricting experience has the potential to leave a very bad taste in the mouths of minorities, many of whom may already be disenchanted with the track record of Democratic leadership at all levels of government. Identity politics can only function if a voter delegates control of their identity to the politicians; it requires some level of voter satisfaction.

But is there a real schism in the soul of the Democratic Party in Washington State? Could Democrats, torn between a key constituency – minority voters – and the need to solidify Democrat districts in advance of an anticipated Republican election year in 2012, have misplaced their moral clarity?

Or is it a simple case of Democrats taking minorities for granted and not listening to the content of their complaints?


Watch Lincoln’s full comments here:

Watch Webster’s full comments here:



WA Redistricting: Republican Commissioners Agree on Majority-Minority District, Democrats Split

The four appointed commissioners on Washington State Redistricting Commission released their proposals to redraw the political lines and recalibrate legislative and congressional districts to account for shifts in population, as well as add a new 10th Congressional District, at a Tuesday morning meeting in Olympia.

Though there were significant differences in the approaches taken by Democrats and Republicans, the most notable was an apparent role reversal from stereotypical party roles on the issue of recognizing large minority populations in congressional representation.

During the public forum phase of Washington’s redistricting process, the Commission heard from hundreds of citizens across the state about the desire for a majority-minority congressional district to be situated in South Seattle. In the plans released Tuesday, the Commission’s two Republicans (former State Rep. Tom Huff and former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton) found room on their maps for a majority-minority district while Democrats split on situating a district that would be made up mostly of minorities.

House Democrat-appointee Tim Ceis drew a majority-minority district south of Seattle in his plan, while Senate Democrat pick Dean Foster said that his districts just “didn’t make the magic 50 percent.”

The apparent difference of opinion among Democratic ranks is something NW Daily Marker alluded to almost three months ago to the day, when we wrote:

Win/Win, OneAmerica and allies in the progressive wing of Washington’s Democratic Party are at loggerheads with an organized faction of their party’s establishment who view situating a majority-minority district in the South Seattle as an impediment to creating a new district around the state capital of Olympia, one that currently exists only on the drafting tables of Democrat strategists as the means for getting Denny Heck elected to Congress.

As the Heck coalition works through one Democrat-appointed commissioner and the South Seattle 10th effort works through another, they each run the risk of losing sight of the purpose of the hearings.

In between the lines, the implication of voting rights activists that minority communities in Washington’s Democrat-controlled environment remain dissatisfied with their representation and unwelcome in the political process may be cause for soul-searching within the party of progressives.

Back to the present day, The Stranger’s Eli Sanders encapsulated the angst of progressive Democrats best in his question to commissioners:

“Any of you want to offer a theory as to why the two Republicans on the commission appear more interested in a majority minority Congressional District than the two Democrats?”

But as Sanders and other sit down tonight to pore over the maps (available on the Commission’s website), the purpose behind the Democratic split should become abundantly clear. It’s just plain politics.

Though each of the two Republican proposals arguably make the state more competitive, but offer little in the way of truly safe seats, Democrats are using the process to consolidate power and play keep-away in the months before another predicted Republican wave in a presidential election year.

Even in the manner of each party’s presentation, there are clear signs that the partisan camps had approached legislative and congressional redistricting from vastly different perspectives and with very different agendas.

Republicans Gorton and Huff laid out cases for their respective redistricting plans citing population as their primary rationale and including community concerns as other factors considered in their choices. In contrast, the presentations of Democrats Tim Ceis and Dean Foster heavily leaned on economic conditions, levels of public health, and social indicators to justify their proposals.

Republicans seem content to let the map be defined primarily by where people are choosing to live and in the process allow for a playing field in Washington State politics that creates better opportunities for each party. In contrast, the Democratic plans seem to driven more by outcomes than opportunity, as evidenced by the over-strengthening of their hold in Western Washington and the attempt to break up Republican districts in Eastern Washington, an architecture that would allow for another decade or more of Democratic control in state politics.

In particular, the Ceis plan: consolidates Rep. Rick Larsen’s (D) 2nd District to give him a breather after last year’s nail biter against John Koster, extends Rep. Jim McDermott’s (D) 7th District further north into solid blue territory, creates the new 10th District around the State Capitol in Olympia (densely packed with public employees), and gives Tacoma and Federal Way to 9th District Rep. Adam Smith (D) (bending like a high jumper to avoid touching less predictable districts in Auburn).

The Ceis map also redraws the 1st Congressional District to bear only a passing resemblance to gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee’s (D) current turf. Instead of straddling Puget Sound with one foot in Kitsap County and the other stepping on parts of North King, South Snohomish and the upper eastside of Lake Washington, the district would be pulled back onto the eastern shore of Puget Sound and would extend down into the purplish communities of Bellevue and Sammamish. And maybe it’s a trick of the eye, but the center of gravity of Ceis’ proposed 1st appears to be State Rep. Roger Goodman’s neighborhood.

Foster’s congressional plan could be seen as even more brazen, primarily because it is untethered from any desire to identify a large and distinct community of minorities in King County.

As new factors are added to the analysis of these maps – residence locations of incumbents and likely challengers being a key area of interest –Republicans will have to approach a negotiation after Democrats have gone all from the onset.

Debate among commissioners is tentatively agreed to begin sometime after October 11th, with a target date of November 1st for final maps looming.


[photo credit: Eric Constantineau]

WA Redistricting: House Republican Commissioner Maps

The Washington State Redistricting Commission presented its maps this morning at an open session in Olympia, and NW Daily Marker has obtained the proposals submitted by House-appointed Commissioner Tom Huff. The maps presented by Huff and the three other commissioners will be available on the Redistricting Commision website at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. Check back with NW Daily Marker for complete analysis of the redistricting proposals later today.

The images below are compressed to fit on our page, but you may click on any of the maps below for a full-size image.

Of particular interest is Huff’s proposal to situate the new 10th Congressional District in South King County, a plan that would recognize a district with a majority population of minorities. Fellow Republican commissioner Slade Gorton included a similar plan, as did Democratic commissioner Tim Ceis. Senate Democratic appointee Dean Foster did not include a majority-minority congressional district in his proposal.



Proposal for New Congressional District in South Seattle Seen as ‘Workable’ by GOP Commissioner

Voters and politicos in Washington state will have their first real opportunity to discuss real geography on Tuesday when the bipartisan State Redistricting Commission reveals four maps (one congressional and one legislative from each party’s two-man appointed delegation) to redraw the political lines and situate a new 10th Congressional District.

In an odd sort of role reversal, Democrats have been seen as split on the idea of locating the new 10th CD in south of Seattle in order to to recognize the surging new population core of minorities in South King County and the Eastside, while some Republicans are acknowledging the merits of such a plan.

A strong call for the creation of the new 10th Congressional District in parts of Southwest King County and the Eastside was voiced throughout the Commission’s four-month schedule of public forums around the state. The map proposed by United for Fair Representation takes portions of the current 7th, 8th and 9th Congressional Districts comprising an area that has experienced rapid population growth in minority communities.

Representatives from groups advocating for better minority participation in elections were omnipresent at commission hearings making their political case. But the role of the Redistricting Commission is to draw new district boundaries that balance the population shifts since the last U.S. Census in 2000, while also respecting community boundaries that are sometimes difficult to ascertain.

Commissioner Tom Huff, the appointee of Republicans in the State House, does not see that the proposal for making the new 10th CD a majority-minority district conflicts with the Commission’s obligations.

“The final negotiation will be interesting,” Huff told NW Daily Marker. “But the lines as drawn are pretty workable.”

Huff suggested that the new lines penciled in for a district where people of color would be in the majority is simply a recognition of demographic changes in the region that have taken place in the last ten years.

“We’ve had a tremendous increase in the population of minorities, and particularly in those areas, and that’s a different dynamic than we had in 2001,” Huff said. “We are catching up to the times.”

Catching up to the times, indeed, but not necessarily lurching into uncharted territory. Majority-minority legislative districts have been in place around the state, but have failed in many cases to magically generate the kind of participation from minority communities that proponents suggest.

“When you talk about legislative districts, we already have a number of them in the state. That hasn’t made a whole lot of difference in who’s representing them,” Huff said. “That’s very true in Yakima… and in some of the Seattle suburbs. The 37th [legislative district] is an example.”

“It’s not necessarily going to assure them that they’re going to have a person of color representing them,” Huff added.

The fact that the proposed 10th CD sits on territory that is primarily Democrat-controlled could be at the heart of why some Democratic politicians see its formation as a double-edged sword. Redistricting always holds potential for the out-party to connect with different voters. In the case of South Seattle, if minorities are truly feeling underrepresented by their state and congressional representatives, the door could be open for Republicans to begin a dialogue with disaffected voters.

The Washington State Redistricting Commission is scheduled to release their proposed maps for congressional and legislative districts Tuesday after a morning meeting in Olympia.


[image credit: courtesy use from United for Fair Representation]


Internal Democratic Politics May Complicate Redistricting in Washington

Despite all attempts to depoliticize Washington State’s redistricting process by taking it out of the hands of the legislature, it appears that political infighting may again be getting in the way of a speedy drawing of new voting lines.

Only this time it is not the usual red and blue shirts holding up progress, but an internal rift among Democrats over whether a new majority-minority congressional district in South Seattle should take priority over the creation of a cozy district dominated by state workers in Thurston County.

Win/Win, OneAmerica and allies in the progressive wing of Washington’s Democratic Party are at loggerheads with an organized faction of their party’s establishment who view situating a majority-minority district in the South Seattle as an impediment to creating a new district around the state capital of Olympia, one that currently exists only on the drafting tables of Democrat strategists as the means for getting Denny Heck elected to Congress.

As the Heck coalition works through one Democrat-appointed commissioner and the South Seattle 10th effort works through another, they each run the risk of losing sight of the purpose of the hearings.

In between the lines, the implication of voting rights activists that minority communities in Washington’s Democrat-controlled environment remain dissatisfied with their representation and unwelcome in the political process may be cause for soul-searching within the party of progressives.

In a real sense, the cold war developing between establishment Democrats and progressives over the preferred location of the 10th District has the danger of dragging the Redistricting Commission down into a political quagmire. Failing to meet a self-imposed November 1st deadline to present a map to the public has begun to look more and more likely.

The proposal to situate the 10th District in South Seattle has been spearheaded by the national immigrant activist group OneAmerica, working in close coordination with the Win/Win Network, a Washington state collaborative of progressive interest groups. At the Redistricting Commission’s hearing in Auburn on May 23rd, OneAmerica submitted their proposed map for a new 10th Congressional District to be considered, a swatch of territory that would take large chunks out of the 7th and 9th Congressional Districts, and would nip at the edges of the present-day 8th.

According to Win/Win executive director George Cheung, speaking to the Commission at a hearing in Auburn on May 23rd, the 10th District envisioned by his group would have “a majority of people of color.” Cheung also stated that “creating a majority people of color district is critical for encouraging people of color to participate in the democratic process.”

State policy director of OneAmerica Toby Guevin has appeared at hearings on both sides of the Cascades. Guevin trekked to Yakima for the June 8th hearing to tell commissioners: “We want to push for the new 10th Congressional District in South King County.”

One day earlier, another OneAmerica volunteer had stepped to the microphone in Pasco to deliver the same message, as well as adding his voice to the ACLU and other voting rights groups calling for the creation of a majority-minority legislative district from dominantly Hispanic neighborhoods in Yakima.

The case for a Hispanic voting district in Yakima was further underscored in remarks to the Commission from Seattle University professor and voting right advocate Joaquin Avila.

“From [the Hispanic] community perspective, what is right is that the legislature should be reflective of the people that it represents, the legislature must be diverse,” Avila said.

Guevin, Cheung, and Avila are speaking for different communities but expressing the same concern. In the Democrat-controlled political environment of Washington, minorities do not receive adequate representation and are not encouraged to participate in the political process.

Because the desired location for the South Seattle 10th District is found squarely inside of Democratic territory that is as solid as it gets in politics, it begs the question: If Congressmen Jim McDermott and Adam Smith are not representing the minorities in their districts, might it be a failure of the policies, not the politicians?

Another frustrating feature of the 10th District debate among Democrats may be what a South Seattle congressional district does in terms of redistricting math. The 2010 Census showed clearly that the Seattle metropolitan area is shrinking and because districts are created based on population – not area – each of Seattle’s congressional districts technically should be expanding in size. But wedging a new district into the area compounds the problem, creating a spill-over effect around the state and creating potential advantages for Republicans.

Using an online tool loaded with the most up-to-date census and voting data, NW Daily Marker took a stab at performing a redistricting of Washington State. We used the OneAmerica 10th District map as our base, and attempted to follow the laws and guidelines imposed on the Redistricting Commission – in brief, a) districts should be contiguous, b) they  should follow municipal and county boundaries as much as is practicable, and c) they must distribute the state’s population equally among all counties, with a small tolerance.

Our wholly unscientific experiment in redistricting created an interesting result when compared with the current district map (image to right, click to view larger).

There are certainly different maps that could emerge from this quasi-arcane process. But no map can disregard facts about where Washington’s population is growing. The Commission was reminded about these stark realities by a citizen at the Pasco hearing.

“Eastern WA’s population is going to continue to grow… the Tri-cities area is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation right now per capita,” Jon Wyss, apple grower, told the Commission. “Seattle[’s population] — if you look at birth rates and trends – is on the decline.”

“It’s either lose a district now or two later,” Wyss warned.

Washington state map color-shaded by degree of population density. Red areas are most dense, while green are least. (Source: Washington State Office of Financial Management)

As Public Hearings on Washington’s Redistricting Begin, Process Needs to Make Up Time

Washington state map color-shaded by degree of population density. Red areas are most dense, while green are least. (Source: Washington State Office of Financial Management)

Public hearings on the remapping of Washington state’s congressional and legislative districts kicked off last week, a process that will continue through the middle of summer as the five-member Washington State Redistricting Commission takes their road show to at least 11 more locations across the state (scroll down to end for the most recent schedule) before the tour wraps in mid-July.

Residents in the Bellingham area will have an opportunity to discuss redistricting with the Commission at a hearing Thursday evening. The forum will open its doors to the public 6:00 p.m. on the campus of Western Washington University in the Academic West Building, room AW204. Commission business will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m.

But the Commission’s lack of haste getting to this stage has disappointed some on either side of the partisan divide, scores of politicians and campaigners who are idling hot in anticipation of knowing how the dirt will be divided in next year’s important elections.

Washington received its census data in February, but lags behind its peer group of the other nine states using a commission-based process for redistricting. Most other commission process states have at least generated hypothetical maps to focus debate; Washington’s commission intentionally moves forward into the public hearing phase without even a hypothetical map to use as a catalyst for conversation.

Cruising in to take the checkered flag, Missouri’s legislature already brushed aside a gubernatorial veto to approve its new map, though partisan bickering will almost certainly result in a courtroom battle before the matter is laid completely to rest.

Though the Commission officially has until January 1st of next year to present its plan to the public, Republicans have advocated getting a proposal out for review by November 1st. A source close to the redistricting process suggests Democrats may be warming to that date.

If bipartisan consensus to shift the Redistricting Commission into second gear survives through the summer, having a tentatively solid date circled on the calendar could alleviate some of impatience among Republican and Democratic strategists who understand all too well that time is the most precious resource in politics, the only one that can neither be replaced nor substituted.

The limiting factor on the Commission’s speed is good old-fashioned politics. So far the bipartisan Commission appears determined to head off efforts to politicize the remapping endeavor.

A case in point about how the process may be befuddling politicos came via antsy congressional wannabe Denny Heck (D), who jumped the gun and filed as a candidate in the not-yet-defined Tenth Congressional District, as Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner reported Monday.

With political operatives already been questing for information about the Tenth like Ponce de Leon drilling the natives for directions to the Fountain of Youth, Heck’s erroneous filing will only fuel to runaway speculation about Washington’s newest district and the impact it may have on surrounding districts. An expedient way to silence the rumor mill is to produce an actual map sooner rather than later.

Politics should not strictly be a factor since the redistricting process is technically governed by simple math, but as even a studious second-grader knows, there is always more than one way to get to ten. The Commission’s challenge is to stick to demographic analysis and minimize consideration of other tempting aspects.

Overall, Washington’s population between 2000 and 2010 grew to slightly less than 6.725 million residents – an increase of a little more than 830,000 – according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Though the entire state is growing, the growth has not been uniform. Over ten years, the changes in density that typically occur in response to local economic conditions have created inequities in each resident’s representation in the State Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Redistricting is the important means to recalibrate the system and restore balance.

Each of the 49 districts represented in the State Legislature must have a nearly equal number of residents. The same is true for congressional districts, with the added wrinkle this year that Washington’s population relative to the nation’s also grew, gaining the state a new Tenth Congressional District representative to be elected in 2012.

The Redistricting Commission encourages residents to attend the public forums in their communities. The most current published schedule for the remaining public hearings is listed below. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and meetings will commence at 6:30 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. Please check back on the Commission’s website for updates and additional information.

Bellingham – Thursday, May 26
Western Washington University, Academic West Building, AW204, Bellingham, WA

Pasco – Tuesday, June 7
Location to be determined

Yakima – Wednesday, June 8
Location to be determined

Wenatchee – Thursday, June 9
Location to be determined

Seattle – Monday, June 13
Location to be determined

Auburn – Tuesday, June 14
Location to be determined

Bremerton – Thursday, June 30
Location to be determined

Tacoma – Monday, July 11
Location to be determined

Spokane – Tuesday, July 12
Location to be determined

Walla Walla – Wednesday, July 13
Location to be determined

Moses Lake – Thursday, July 14
Location to be determined


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