Washington's Redistricting

Washington's Redistricting News

Washington's Redistricting News (October 16, 2001-December 30, 2001)

Washington's Redistricting News (December 29, 2000-October 15, 2001)

All information below is from early 2001

Washington�s Political Lineup







State Senate

25R, 24D

25D, 24R

State House

63D, 35R

49D, 49R

US Senators

1D, 1R


US Reps

5D, 3R

6D, 3R


Redistricting Deadline

The Redistricting Commission is required to submit legislative and congressional redistricting plans to the Legislature by December 15, 2001.  Redistricting must be finalized by June 30, 2002.  The state Supreme Court will draw plans if the Commission fails to agree on one or both plans.

Who�s in Charge of Redistricting?

The four-member, civilian Redistricting Commission is responsible for congressional and state legislative district plans. Each majority and minority leader of the senate and house appoints one member of the commission. A fifth, nonvoting member is appointed by the four voting members to serve as chair. Members of the commission cannot be elected officials or party officials. There is no gubernatorial veto power over redistricting plans.

Districting Principles



State Legis.







Political subdivisions



Communities of interest



Cores of prior districts



Protect incumbents



VRA � 5



  + = required               - = prohibited

Public Access

The Washington State Redistricting Commission will serve as the official source of redistricting information. The Commission has offices in the state capital and hosts a website that includes a timeline, information on hearings, information on Commission members, maps and data, and more. Statewide hearings will be held by the Commission at which state residents can learn more about the redistricting process as well as propose their own plans.  For details about these hearings, go to the Redistricting Commission's website and click on Hearings on top menu.

Political Landscape

The Redistricting Commission created very competitive congressional districts in 1991-1992. Using the Center for Voting and Democracy�s measure of district partisanship, neither party was projected to win more than 52% in six of the state�s nine districts. The result has been some of the closest races in the nation, with at least one incumbent losing in each election in the 1990�s and partisan success veering wildly � Republicans went from winning one of nine seats in 1992 to winning seven seats in 1994, six seats in 1996, four seats in 1998 and three seats in 2000. The next round of redistricting likely will be similar.

In each state legislative district, there is one state senate seat and two state house seats. Each house seat is elected in a district-wide �numbered post� (meaning house incumbents do not run against one another). There have been significant shifts in the state legislature in the 1990s, and the current balance is very close.

Legal Issues

No cases involving redistricting, although the state was in federal court in disputes with other states over Washington gaining a seat in the 1991 reapportionment.

Legislation/Reform Efforts

The independent redistricting commission was instituted by initiative in 1982. There have been no major efforts to alter the redistricting process since its creation.


The Washington State Capital Museum in Olympia has created a board game titled "Redistrict: The Game of Political Control through Redistricting."  The game has been introduced in conjunction with the current exhibit "Redrawing the Battle Lines: Redistricting and reapportionment." The museum is at 211 21st Ave. W., Olympia.

Irregularly Shaped District
District 1

Irregularly Shaped District
District 9

� Crosses water, linked by a bridge

� Puget Sound (west and east)�north Seattle suburbs

� Competitive district that has changed hands several times in last decade

92% white; 1% black; 5% Asian; 1% Native American; 2% Hispanic

� Puget Sound�Tacoma

� Evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but 41% of voters consider themselves independents

� Newly created in 1992, and not an easy district for incumbents � three seat changes in 1990s

� 86% white; 5% black; 6% Asian; 4% Hispanic


Contact Information

Ethan Moreno, Executive Director
Washington State Redistricting Commission
505 East Union Avenue Third Floor
Olympia, WA  98504-0948
(360) 586-9000
(360) 586-8995 Fax
[email protected]

Office of the Secretary of State
Elections Division

Legislative Building

PO Box 40220

Olympia, Washington 98504-0220


[email protected]


For more information:

National Committee for an Effective Congress' Redistricting Resource: Washington
-Summary and map of new congressional districts

EMILY's List Congressional Redistricting Report: Washington
-Washington Redistricting Chronicle


Redistricting Provisions 2000



Copyright � 2001 The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 610    Takoma Park, MD  20912
(301) 270-4616 ____  [email protected]