Washington redistricting committee misses deadline; state Supreme Court to draw new political maps2 min read
Better late than never turned out not to be the case for Washington state’s redistricting commission that failed to approve new legislative and congressional maps by statutory deadline.
The bipartisan panel’s failure means the state’s election map for the next decade – beginning with the 2022 midterm elections – will be decided by the state Supreme Court, which has until April to draw new boundaries.
The commission issued a brief statement on Twitter Tuesday morning regarding missing the Monday 11:59 p.m. legal cutoff to approve new maps.
“Last night, after substantial work marked by mutual respect and dedication to the important task, the four voting commissioners on the state redistricting commission were unable to adopt a districting plan by the midnight deadline,” the statement said.
The four voting commissioners are Democrats Brady Walkinshaw and April Sims, and Republicans Joe Fain and Paul Graves.
The statement went on to blame “the late release of the 2020 census data combined with technical challenges” for failure to meet the deadline.
Washington state’s voting districts are redrawn every 10 years based on regional population changes tracked by the census. The goal is to keep voting blocks as even as possible.
Prior to 1983, the state legislature drew election maps. Following the legislature’s passage of legislation creating a redistricting commission, voters approved a constitutional amendment to put an independent redistricting commission into the hands of four voting members – two appointed by Democrats and two appointed by Republicans.
This is the first time since the commission was created for redistricting duties in 1991 that it has failed to meet its deadline.
“This is a significant failure in a system that was set up in the 1980s that was supposed to be fair, effective and impartial,” said Paul Guppy, interim president of the Washington Policy Center. “Turns out it didn’t work this time. Now we’re expected to think the state Supreme Court can do a better job in drawing legislative district lines. Actually, it might work better if we go back to having the elected legislature do it, as other states do. We may never take politics totally out of re-districting, but at least an open legislative process with public comment and recorded votes would make it far more transparent and accountable.”
A few weeks ago state Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven Gonzalez brought some levity to the situation, telling TVW you don’t want him with Crayons drawing redistricting maps.
This article was originally posted on Washington redistricting committee misses deadline; state Supreme Court to draw new political maps