Washington State is undergoing redistricting, in response to changes in population.

At Sunday’s Legislative Action Committee meeting, Sarajane Siegfriedt passed around a redistricting map of King County. Districts which have grown in population (compared to the average) are shown in red and need to shrink. Districts which have shrunk in population (compared to the average) are shown in green and need to grow. There are no red districts in Seattle, but some in King County. Seattle grew, but more slowly, so the Seattle LDs have to grow north, south or east. All the green districts along Puget Sound have to add people to get to the average LD size of 137,236. All of east King County is red, having grown faster than average. For example, the very red (and Republican) 5th LD has to shed 22,000 people, making the 48th, 41st and 47th more conservative when they absorb those voters on their boundaries.

Here’s the map. Click on it for a bigger version.

For example, one likely or possible outcome of redistricting is that the 41st LD (where I live) may move east. Mercer Island may merge with the district to the west. This may have the beneficial effect of returning a Democrat to the State Senate and of enabling more progressive Democrats in the House.

Some years ago a state law was enacted that prohibited gerrymandering. Districts must be contiguous, must have near-equal population,and must follow local political, ethnic, or racial subdivisions. The redistricting commission must be bipartisan. Still, interested citizens are encouraged to attend public hearings on the issue. As Washington Democratic Chair Dwight Pelz says:

Don’t go to testify that “I want to keep living in the 67th LD.”, or “If you draw the line north of Main Street we can keep this a Democratic District.” But by speaking to the above criteria you can provide support to the Democrats on the Re-Districting Commission to ensure that a fair map is drawn.

If you are unable to attend these hearings in person, they will also be available via webcast and broadcast on TWV. In addition to the public hearings, you can submit written and electronic comments to the commission or even create plans of your own. More information about getting involved can be found http://www.redistricting.wa.gov/.

Scheduled Public Forums and Commissioner Meetings

The agenda for public forums*:

6 p.m. – Pre-forum Open House
6:30 p.m. – Introduction of Commissioners, Redistricting Overview
7 p.m. – Public Comment and Meeting Summary
9 p.m. – Closing Comments

Commissioner Meetings begin at 10 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.*

Meeting Type

City

Date

Location

Public Forum Aberdeen Tuesday, May 17 Grays Harbor College HUB, 1620 Edward P. Smith Drive
Public Forum Olympia Wednesday, May 18 John A. Cherberg Building, 304 15th Ave. Senate Hearing Room 1
Public Forum Vancouver Thursday, May 19 Hilton Vancouver Hotel, 301 West 6th St, Discovery Ballroom ABC
Public Forum Renton Monday, May 23 Renton, Renton Technical College cafeteria, 3000 NE 4th St.
Public Forum Bellevue Tuesday, May 24 Red Lion Hotel Bellevue, Evergreen Point Room, 11211 Main St.
Public Forum Everett Wednesday, May 25 Everett Community College, Jackson Conference Center, 2000 Tower St.
Public Forum Bellingham Thursday, May 26 Western Washington University, Academic West Building, AW204
Public Forum Pasco Tuesday, June 7 TBD
Public Forum Yakima Wednesday, June 8 TBD
Public Forum Wenatchee Thursday, June 9 TBD
Public Forum Seattle Monday, June 13 TBD
Commissioner Meeting Olympia Tuesday, June 14 J A Cherberg Bldg. – Hearing Room 3
Public Forum Auburn Tuesday, June 14 TBD
Public Forum Bremerton Thursday, June 30 TBD
Public Forum Tacoma Monday, July 11 TBD
Public Forum Spokane Tuesday, July 12 TBD
Commissioner Meeting TBD Tuesday, June 14 TBD
Public Forum Walla Walla Wednesday, July 13 TBD
Public Forum Moses Lake Thursday, July 14 TBD
Commissioner Meeting Olympia Tuesday, August 9 J A Cherberg Bldg. – Hearing Room 3
Commissioner Meeting Olympia Tuesday, September 13 J A Cherberg Bldg. – Hearing Room 3
Commissioner Meeting Olympia Tuesday, October 11 J A Cherberg Bldg. – Hearing Room 3
Commissioner Meeting Olympia Tuesday, November 8 J A Cherberg Bldg. – Hearing Room 3
Commissioner Meeting Olympia Tuesday, December 13 J A Cherberg Bldg. – Hearing Room 3

*Meeting dates, times and locations are subject to change