Redistricting Update – On to the State Supreme Court

Here are highlights from a statement by Tina Podlodowski, Chair of the Washington State Democrats, on the status of the State’s redistricting efforts

Hello Democrats! Midnight last night [November 15] was the deadline for the bipartisan Redistricting Commission to pass their final proposals for the legislative and Congressional maps for the next decade. After a great deal of late-night drama that extended well into this morning, the Commission was unable to settle on final maps by the deadline. Now the issue falls to the State Supreme Court, which has until April 30th, 2022 – at the latest – to set our state’s political boundaries.

What comes next? There’s a lot we still don’t know. The Court could try to act quickly to enact something along the lines of whatever the last drafts of the Commissioners’ maps were, or they could start from a blank slate. We don’t know what process they will set up. I’ve already asked the party’s lawyers to get to work on questions about next steps and how best to advocate for better, fairer maps through the Court’s process. Expect to hear more from me as we learn about what comes next.

My hope is that the Court’s action will reflect the fundamental mission of the Redistricting Commission in law:

  • Drawing and passing compact, contiguous districts that reflect real communities of interest on the ground;
  • Following the Voting Rights Act so Latinx and Indigenous voters can be heard in the Yakima area;
  • Respecting and reflecting the public testimony that was given (which overwhelmingly supported the map proposals from the Democratic Commissioners!);
  • Promoting competitive and fair elections by not unfairly discriminating towards any political party or group.

This whole process could be a big challenge for us, in a lot of ways. We won’t know the political landscape and district boundaries until later in the campaign year, which especially affects candidate recruitment if the Court ends up working all the way until April. Restructuring our LD organizations to match the new boundaries will likely have to happen much later than originally planned as well. But I’m confident that we can come out of this with fairer districts that better represent real communities of interest and follow the law, and that we can compete and win across Washington state over the next decade. Stay tuned for more information as we get it!

Click here for our past coverage on the redistricting process.