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Spin Control

Posts tagged: legislative districts

Mapping the vote: New Lege districts

Here's a look at the new legislative districts in Spokane County. For a closer look, check out the PDF file. 


New districts good, at least for now

OLYMPIA—Washington voters will choose candidates this fall for the congressional and legislative districts approved this year by a special commission, the state Supreme Court said Wednesday.

Whether those districts will need to be adjusted before the 2014 elections, based on a challenge that they were improperly drawn, remains to be seen. But with the filing deadline for candidates only about two months away, the court said that for 2012, at least, the districts are the ones that determine where voters live, and where candidates run.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, Washington's top elections official, called the ruling “very good news” especially for counties which are scrambling to adjust their voting precincts to comply with the new districts.

The Redistricting Commission finished its work on Jan. 1 of redrawing all the state's legislative districts and adding a tenth congressional district based on the 2010 Census results, and the Legislature approved those districts on Feb. 7. John Milem, a Vancouver citizen who attended almost every meeting of the commission and submitted his own sets of legislative and congressional boundaries, filed a challenge to the new maps on Feb. 8, saying the new districts divide too many cities and counties and reduce competition rather than encourage it.

The Supreme Court said it will consider the challenge, but Milem and the state attorney general's office still have some groundwork to do on setting up the basic facts of the case, and if they can't agree, they may need a Thurston County Superior Court judge to step in, and report back to the high court by May 29.

That's too late for Washington's candidate filing week, which runs from May 14 to 18. Ballots for the state primary go in the mail in July.

“Our 2012 elections season is barrelling down on us,” Reed said.

New district lines approved

OLYMPIA — The Senate gave the final OK today to the new boundaries for Washington's legislative and congressional district lines.

The boundaries, drawn up by the state Redistricting Commission and approved by that panel on Jan. 1, rearrange state legislative districts and add a 10th congressional district to Washington, awarded last year because of population growth.

Under state law, the Legislature  has the authority to tweak the boundaries slightly — no more than 2 percent — but can't make wholesale changes. The House made minor changes by moving Census Blocks around among many of the congressional and legislative districts before passing the boundaries 95-0 last Friday. The Senate approved those changes on a 44-4 vote today.

The maps as approved by the Redistricting Commission can be found here. We'll be posting updated maps as soon as they are available.

What about those East Side districts? Maybe Tuesday

OLYMPIA — The Washington Redistricting Commission might get around to releasing its proposed legislative boundaries for Eastern Washington tomorrow.

The panel, which has been hung up on redrawing lines for Puget Sound and Western Washington Districts for weeks, released some boundaries for most of those legislative districts on Friday and planned to work through the weekend on the East Side and the congressional boundaries.

Here's the plan for King County and points north. Here's the plan for Pierce County and points south and west.

They're in a “beat the clock” posture. State law requires them to have boundaries to turn submit to the Legislature by Jan. 1, or cede the authority for redistricting to the state Supreme Court. Back in the halcyon days of the commission's planning, they talked about being done in November and giving the plans to the Legislature during its special session. Now it's a race to finish things by year's end, and maybe get the maps and formal boundary descriptions to the Lege by the first or second week of the regular session, which starts Jan. 9.

Commission members Slade Gorton and Tim Ceis are working on the congressional districts, Tom Huff and Dean Foster on the Eastern Washington legislative districts.

We'll have a report, and maps, tomorrow…if they do.

Sunday Spin: Adventures in redistricting

OLYMPIA – Tuesday is Election Day 2011 – or what passes for one in a state that mailed out its ballots two weeks ago and will spend more than two weeks counting the returns – but it could be a key day for Election Days 2012-21.
That morning is the next meeting of the state Redistricting Commission, which is weighing two proposals to redraw congressional and legislative lines in Washington…

To read the rest of this post, go inside the blog.

2010 Census: Another legislative district map

Last night's post discussed the population in Washington's legislative districts and had a statewide map. But we also generated more local maps for analysis. Here's a Spokane County map tied to the same color key.

District  2010 population Growth since 2000 Difference from ideal 2012 size  Rank by population
3rd District (central Spokane city, includes Hillyard, Northtown, West Central, East Central, Logan, downtown, lower South Hill.)  120,601 314 -16,635 2nd smallest.
4th District (City of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Millwood and areas north to Pend Oreille County line) 141,254 20,968 4,018 14th largest
6th District (Parts of Spokane city and county, including Whitworth, Indian Trail, Latah Creek, South Hill above 17th Avenue, parts of Moran Prairie, parts of West Plains east of Airway Heights) 141,123 20,830 3,887 15th largest
7th District (Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, Lincoln counties, parts of Okanogan and Spokane counties, including Deer Park, Airway Heights, Fairchild Air Force Base and nearby portions of West Plains.)  130,475 10,185 6,761 15th smallest
9th District (Asotin, Garfield, Whitman, Adams counties, parts of Franklin and Spokane counties, including Cheney, Medical Lake, small towns and most of rural areas in the southern third of county.)  136,199 15,879 1,070 27th smallest

WA Lege Day 18: Split the House districts?

OLYMPIA — Splitting the legislative districts in half, so that a different state representative is elected in each half, would  increase the contacts with constituents, the sponsor of the plan said.

But it would also cut in half each voter's representation in the House, and could result in a more narrow focus for each member, Rep. Cary Condotta, R-East Wenatchee argued.

“If you divide these districts in half, you increase your contact with your constituents,” Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, said of his proposal, HB 1092. But each representative would still have the needs of the large community in mind, he added.

“Spokane is after a building that would be in Riverpoint, but all their representatives are going to be for that building because of the economic benefit it would have,” he said. “I would think you would care about your region.

Dunshee had just come from a meeting with about 90 business and government leaders from Spokane and the surrounding area, where he'd been asked about the $70.8 million building for a new medical school in Spokane. He told them the project couldn't get on the proposed Capital Budget without Republican help.

Rep. Jason Overstreet, R-Bellingham, whose district adjoins Dunshee's, said he “took offense” with Dunshee referring during his presentation to some rural portions of the districts as “banjo areas”.

“A little humor doesn't hurt anything,” Dunshee replied. “I repsesnt more rural people than you do  now.”

Spokane’s 3rd Lege District among lowest for turnout

OLYMPIA — New numbers from the Washington Secretary of State's office confirm what political experts in Spokane have long believed:

Central Spokane's 3rd Legislative District, along with being among the state's poorest, is among the state's lightest voting.

The state Elections Office released voter turnout for the state's 49 legislative districts this morning, and they show a wide range of ballots cast, voter registration and turnout (ballots cast divided by voters registered) across the state.

Spokane's 3rd District was fourth from the bottom as far as ballots cast and turnout. Final tallies show that 35,835 voters, or 63.3 percent of those registered in the district, cast a ballot.

Other legislative districts that are completely or partly in Spokane County did significantly better:

The 6th District was fourth from the top, with 64,673 ballots, or a 74.5 percent turnout of its 86,796 voters.

The Valley's 4th District was 17th, with 58,461 ballots or a 72.4 percent turnout.

Northeast Washington's 7th District was 24th, with 55,411 ballots and a 74.2 percent turnout.

Southeast Washington's 9th District was 28th, with 51,223 ballots and a 73.1 percent turnout. (The turnout was slightly smaller in the 4th, even though the number of ballots is larger, because the 4th has considerably more registered voters than either of the two rural districts.)

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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