Only one of the four Washington congressional boundary proposals would significantly alter the eastern Washington districts
OLYMPIA – Proposals to move congressional district boundaries from Washington mostly maintain the status quo in eastern Washington, but it would make a big difference.
Every 10 years, the State Redistricting Commission is responsible for redrawing the boundaries of the state’s 49 legislative and 10 congressional districts. Each of the four commissioners – two Democrats and two Republicans – released their proposals for congressional district maps on Tuesday.
All maps and descriptions offered by each commissioner can be found at redistricting.wa.gov.
Final cards must be submitted to the Legislature by 11:59 p.m. on November 15 and will go into effect next year. The objective of the commission is to create 10 districts, as close as possible to the equal population. Based on the 2020 census, the population target for each district is 770,528 people, about 100,000 more than 10 years ago.
In most maps, the 4th and 5th Districts – currently represented by Republicans Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers respectively – look like what currently exists.
In three of the four maps, the boundaries of the 5th arrondissement do not change much. As the easternmost district, the current boundaries include Canada, Idaho, and Oregon.
Republican Commissioner Joe Fain, a former state senator, proposed a map with a western boundary that adds Adams County to District 5 and expands it to include all of Walla Walla County, which is currently divided into two districts.
The other Republican commissioner, former Rep. Paul Graves, similarly adds Adams to the 5th arrondissement while adding most of Franklin County, although he keeps Pasco in the 4th arrondissement.
Democratic Commissioner April Sims retains most of the Western borders but, like her fellow Republicans, adds most of Adams County to District 5.
Unlike his Democratic counterpart, however, Brady PiÃ±ero Walkinshaw’s 5th District proposal is very different. Walkinshaw maintains Spokane County in the 5th Arrondissement but uses its northern border as the district’s northern border.
He then uses the Columbia River as a western boundary, encompassing Franklin and Walla Walla in the 5th, but leaving Adams and Lincoln in the 4th arrondissement. Walkinshaw’s proposal for the 5th district only keeps seven counties in the district, as opposed to the current 10 counties.
Walkinshaw said the goal of its proposed maps is to reduce the number of divided counties and “draw more logical lines that reflect the reality of the communities,” according to a statement. County governments maintain roads, provide services and are responsible for public safety, he said.
While he’s mostly knocking out Republican counties, adding Adams and Lincoln is unlikely to make 5th a Democratic or Swing district.
Due to its changes in the 5th arrondissement, Walkinshaw’s 4th arrondissement proposal has the most changes.
It would gain the counties of Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille and Lincoln while adding the county of Klickitat as the southern border, which the four commissioners proposed.
Walkinshaw’s proposal would keep the Colville and Spokane reserves together in the 4th Arrondissement, which would include 12 counties.
He said he tried to keep the communities of interest together, like keeping the Colville and Spokane reserves together. His map also preserves the Yakama reservation and tribal lands south of the Columbia River in the 4th district.
âThe Congress maps we are offering today build on the core values ââwe bring to the redistribution process: responsiveness to public comment, prioritizing the needs of historically under-represented groups, and keeping communities together to give them the best basis for fair and effective representation for all. levels, âWalkinshaw said in a statement.
The other commissioners mainly retain the 4th District boundaries, although they all add Klickitat County.
The proposals of the two Republican commissioners also add Skamania County to 4th as the most westerly county. Fain’s proposal holds Franklin County to 4th, while Graves’ proposal moves it to 5th.
How to participate
The public has many ways to comment.
The committee will hold a virtual public consultation meeting at 10 a.m. on October 9, during which the public can share their thoughts on the Congress maps with the committee. To register, visit redistricting.wa.gov.
The public can also comment directly on the maps offered, which can be viewed at redistricting.wa.gov/commissioner-proposed-maps.
Residents can also draw their own card for review, but it must be submitted by October 22 for a full review.