Revised maps dependent on Census data
Every 10 years, the Washington State Redistricting Commission is tasked with reviewing U.S. Census data and redrawing legislative and congressional district maps to ensure fair representation.
Revised maps will come out later than usual this year due to delays to the Census caused by COVID-19, but the redistricting commission is starting the process with public outreach meetings.
The outreach meeting to the Fourth Congressional District, which includes Washington Legislative Districts 8, 15 and portions of districts 7, 9, 12, 13, 14 and 16, and all of Okanogan County, is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday (June 5) through a Zoom webinar and on TVW and YouTube at the Washington State Redistricting Commission’s channel.
People who want to comment will need to register as a participant by 3 p.m. Friday (June 4) at https://bit.ly/3bZlPLU to get a Zoom link.
Normally, states get full census data by April 1 the year after the census, said Jamie Nixon, communications director for the state Redistricting Commission. However, COVID-19 delayed the process, and the commission will likely not get that data until September. He said they plan to begin their work on new district maps in August using the preliminary data they do have.
Congressional Districts in Washington are split into chunks of an average of 765,000 residents. Estimates of 2020 population numbers for the Fourth Congressional district show it at 755,000.
“That would mean they need to gain some population to be balanced with others,” Nixon said. Meanwhile, Washington’s First and Second Congressional Districts are estimated to have increased in population, so they may shrink in size.
However, Nixon stressed that the estimate might not reflect the actual census numbers, so the commission won’t know exactly what they’re dealing with until September.
The outreach meetings are intended to be preliminary and get residents’ feedback on representation in their communities.
The Fourth Congressional District is currently situated vertically in the state, stretching from Okanogan County south to the Oregon border, including Douglas, Grant, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Adams and part of Walla Walla counties.
The 2010 Census resulted in a redistricting process the following year that moved Okanogan County from the Fifth to the Fourth Congressional District.
For more information on redistricting, go to https://www.redistricting.wa.gov.