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Process to prevent gerrymandering in WA needs improving, lawmakers say

By February 24, 2020February 16th, 2021News


One of the biggest decisions that will shape Washington state politics for a decade won’t appear on any ballot.

The state’s process of redistricting, in which the boundaries of state legislative and congressional districts are redrawn to reflect changes in population, is set to begin next year, using the results of the 2020 census.

Observers largely agree that Washington’s redistricting process is better than most other states’. That’s because the state’s political lines are redrawn by a bipartisan commission, rather than by elected legislators — making it harder for the party that controls the Legislature to create a map to its own advantage.

Kamau Chege, director of the Washington Census Alliance, said having paid commissioners is important to encourage more diverse representation on the commission.

As things stand today, Chege said, lawmakers who choose commission members “routinely appoint old, typically white political operatives who are retired, who have a lot of money and time to spend on advancing the partisan interests of each of their respective parties.”

The Census Alliance, which supports Pellicciotti’s bill, is a coalition of more than 70 organizations led by people of color from across the state.

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