Seattle, WA—The League of Women Voters of Washington (LWVWA) calls for reform of the Washington state redistricting process. The fact that the Washington State Redistricting Commission failed to reach an agreement on the maps before the constitutional deadline and forced the decision to the Washington Supreme Court confirms the need to reform the redistricting process in Washington. The LWVWA calls on the public, the legislature, and the media to push for more transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness in the process and for a structural change to the makeup of the commission.
“We are disappointed in the transparency of the negotiations and the lack of results. The trust of our election systems starts with redistricting. If we can’t see what the commissioners are discussing along the way, then we don’t know if our input has been heard and considered. This poor result calls for both process and structural reform,” says LWVWA Redistricting Issue Chair Alison McCaffree.
In the 2019 legislative session, with HB2575, we called for modernizing the process by starting earlier, providing better training, offering salaries for the commissioners, and increasing transparency and outreach. The LWVWA commends the 2021 commission for the job they did with outreach and equal language access. The commissioners did the best they could do with a system that was not effective. The League is now asking for more openness in the discussions, and greater access to public comments and the elections data the commissioners used.
After our own statewide transparent and nonpartisan feedback process, the LWVWA released legislative and congressional redistricting map alternatives in September that put communities of interest first and submitted them to the commission for consideration. To view the process and maps, visit the LWVWA website at lwvwa.org/redistricting, lwvwa.org/maps, and lwvwa.org/speakup. We sincerely hope the Washington Supreme Court will take our process and the resulting maps into consideration.
While redistricting relies on technology and data analysis, ultimately human judgment must balance representation among disparate groups—with many needs that sometimes overlap or conflict. The League hopes that the Washington Supreme Court will study the district lines and use them to develop the best solutions for the people of Washington.