September 28, 2010 in City

Washington’s growth could bolster showing in House

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Adding seats

Washington had one U.S. House seat at statehood, added one after the 1890 census, one after 1900, two after 1910 and one each after 1930, 1950, 1980 and 1990 counts, according to research by the secretary of state’s office.

Washington state could be in line for a new congressional district when the numbers from the 2010 census become final.

A private organization that analyzes census, election and political data said Monday the state could just make the cut for adding a seat if the once-per-decade national head count comes out as expected.

That would give Washington 10 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and give the state Redistricting Commission more to do than just adjust the current nine congressional districts and 49 legislative districts.

Based on the most recent population estimates, Washington state should have about 6,756,000 people. That could put it in line to get the 434th seat in the House, Election Data Services Inc. said. The House has 435.

Congress uses a complicated formula for determining the number of residents required for a seat, but the company believes Washington should be over the requirement by about 13,000 people, and be one of six states that get a new seat. Florida will likely get two new seats and Texas four; New York and Ohio should each lose two and eight other states would lose one, based on the company’s estimates.

Idaho is expected to keep its two House seats.

Washington added its eighth congressional district in 1980 and its ninth in 1990, but didn’t have enough population growth to add any in 2000.

The commission that will draw the lines for congressional and legislative districts has five members. One each is appointed by Democratic and Republican leaders in the state Senate and House; those four pick the fifth member. The commission holds public hearings across the state, redraws lines based on set criteria and submits the new boundaries to the Legislature for passage with a two-thirds vote.

The new boundaries will be used for the 2012 elections.


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