Edi­tor’s Note: The NPI team is pleased to wel­come Richard Cham­pi­on as a con­trib­u­tor to the NPI Advo­cate. Richard is a com­mit­ted Demo­c­ra­t­ic activist who cur­rent­ly serves as the 2nd Vice Chair of the King Coun­ty Democ­rats. He resides in the 30th LD and is active in the 30th LD Democ­rats. As with all posts by our con­trib­u­tors, the views expressed here are his, and not those of NPI. Enjoy, and feel free to leave your own thoughts on this idea in the com­ment thread. 

Two years ago, I weighed in on our state’s redis­trict­ing process with a sub­stan­tive diary on Dai­ly Kos in which I talked about what a con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly-com­pli­ant set of maps might look like, and pre­sent­ed some examples.

As before, I was spurred to look more close­ly at the con­se­quences of redis­trict­ing fol­low­ing the late John Milem’s law­suit chal­leng­ing the legal­i­ty of the Wash­ing­ton State Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion’s decen­ni­al maps.

Arti­cle II, Sec­tion of 43 of Wash­ing­ton’s Con­sti­tu­tion and state law (RCW 44.05.090) state that redis­trict­ing maps should be drawn so as to:

  1. Coin­cide with the bound­aries of local polit­i­cal sub­di­vi­sions and areas rec­og­nized as com­mu­ni­ties of interest;
  2. Make the num­ber of coun­ties and munic­i­pal­i­ties divid­ed among more than one dis­trict as small as possible;
  3. Be con­ve­nient, con­tigu­ous (con­nect­ed by trans­porta­tion), and com­pact ter­ri­to­ry; and
  4. Pro­vide fair and effec­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion, encour­age elec­toral com­pe­ti­tion, and not drawn to pur­pose­ly favor of any polit­i­cal par­ty or group.

While the state Con­sti­tu­tion does­n’t for­bid sin­gle-mem­ber House dis­tricts, RCW 44.05.090 cur­rent­ly states that state rep­re­sen­ta­tives are elect­ed at-large in the leg­isla­tive dis­tricts. Wash­ing­ton is one of only ten states left that still has mul­ti-mem­ber dis­tricts. Sin­gle-mem­ber dis­tricts allow for a more log­i­cal hier­ar­chy between the House and Sen­ate, as well as allow­ing for more major­i­ty-minor­i­ty dis­tricts result­ing in more leg­is­la­tors from racial minori­ties in the state legislature.

While Wash­ing­ton isn’t under the umbrel­la of Sec­tion 5 of the Vot­ing Rights Act — even before the Supreme Court’s recent deci­sion evis­cer­at­ing Sec­tion 4 — greater diver­si­ty in our elect­ed offi­cials is a worth­while goal, par­tic­u­lar­ly in light of Wash­ing­ton state’s decreas­ing leg­isla­tive diver­si­ty.

In Wash­ing­ton, redis­trict­ing is done by the Wash­ing­ton State Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion, which has two Democ­rats, two Repub­li­cans and a non­vot­ing, non­par­ti­san chair. Since the com­mit­tee mem­bers are cho­sen by the Leg­is­la­ture’s four major par­ty cau­cus­es, the plans they pro­duce look like incum­bent pro­tec­tion maps. And that’s because both par­ties are try­ing to pro­tect their own.

This results in safe dis­tricts that unnec­es­sar­i­ly split coun­ties and cities, which is in vio­la­tion of what’s in both the state Con­sti­tu­tion and state law. Wash­ing­ton is one of only ten states that has mul­ti-mem­ber dis­tricts. RCW 44.05.090 states:

The house of rep­re­sen­ta­tives shall con­sist of nine­ty-eight mem­bers, two of whom shall be elect­ed from and run at large with­in each leg­isla­tive district.

Mul­ti-mem­ber dis­trict­ing has been in decline since the Vot­ing Rights Act was adopt­ed and specif­i­cal­ly the 1982 Supreme Court case Thorn­burg v. Gin­gles, in which a unan­i­mous Court found that:

… the lega­cy of offi­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion … act­ed in con­cert with the mul­ti-mem­ber dis­trict­ing scheme to impair the abil­i­ty of … cohe­sive groups of black vot­ers to par­tic­i­pate equal­ly in the polit­i­cal process and to elect can­di­dates of their choice.

Since the adop­tion of Vot­ing Rights Act and the Supreme Court’s deci­sion in Thorn­burg v. Gin­gles, states not cov­ered by Sec­tion 5 of the Act have tak­en a bet­ter safe than sor­ry approach by elim­i­nat­ing their mul­ti-mem­ber dis­trict­ing so as to not be sub­ject to court challenges.

It’s plain­ly obvi­ous that when you have small­er dis­tricts of ‘com­mu­ni­ties of inter­est’ you are less like­ly to dilute the vot­ing strength of com­mu­ni­ties of col­or and there­fore bet­ter allow them to elect can­di­dates of their choice.

A fine exam­ple is South Dako­ta, which, like Wash­ing­ton, has two state rep­re­sen­ta­tives and one state sen­a­tor elect­ed from each leg­isla­tive dis­trict, except for two leg­isla­tive dis­tricts (the 26th & and 28th) which are split into sin­gle-mem­ber House dis­tricts since the Pine Ridge and Rose­bud Reser­va­tions are (or were until recent­ly) cov­ered under Sec­tion 5 of the Vot­ing Rights Act.

In both 2011 and 2012, Hans Dun­shee (D‑District 44/Snohomish) intro­duced House Bill 1092 which would have changed the state law to state:

Each leg­isla­tive dis­trict shall be divid­ed into two house dis­tricts, denot­ed as house dis­trict A and B, with a sin­gle mem­ber of the house of rep­re­sen­ta­tives being elect­ed from each house district.

This would have result­ed in Wash­ing­ton being anal­o­gous to oth­er west­ern states like Alas­ka, Ore­gon, Neva­da, Mon­tana, and Wyoming which also have a “two-in-one” leg­isla­tive struc­ture. Suf­fice to say, the bill — which would have poten­tial­ly dis­placed sev­er­al incum­bents — failed to get a vote.

This points at anoth­er issue with the cur­rent mul­ti-mem­ber dis­trict­ing — leg­is­la­tor crowd­ing. For exam­ple, in the 12th and 25th LDs, all of the leg­is­la­tors reside in Wenatchee/East Wenatchee and Puyallup, respec­tive­ly, even though those cities account for less than half of the pop­u­la­tion in the dis­trict. As shown below, that would not be pos­si­ble in a sin­gle-mem­ber House dis­trict map.

Also at issue with mul­ti-mem­ber dis­trict­ing is that its at odds with the com­mon­ly under­stood Amer­i­can hier­ar­chy between upper and low­er leg­isla­tive bod­ies, where­in sen­a­tors rep­re­sent larg­er pop­u­la­tions with more broad and diverse inter­ests and con­cerns, while rep­re­sen­ta­tives have nar­row­er, more cohe­sive constituencies.

In states like Wash­ing­ton, sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives have iden­ti­cal com­mu­ni­ties result­ing in less diver­si­ty of leg­isla­tive mind­sets; to say noth­ing of decreased diver­si­ty in leg­is­la­tors them­selves. In addi­tion, sin­gle-mem­ber House dis­tricts would allow for par­ti­san diver­si­ty from region to region.

Cur­rent­ly, east­ern Wash­ing­ton is rep­re­sent­ed exclu­sive­ly by Repub­li­cans… if we don’t count the Democ­rats who hail from with­in Spokane.

The exist­ing dis­tricts are uncom­pet­i­tive, but small­er House dis­tricts would enable Democ­rats, par­tic­u­lar­ly in Yaki­ma, to at least have a chance of being elect­ed — and encour­ag­ing elec­toral com­pe­ti­tion is one of the prin­ci­ples that the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion is sup­posed to be using when cre­at­ing their plans.

Those of you read­ing who like the sound of this idea may be won­der­ing: How might we go about replac­ing leg­isla­tive dis­tricts with House and Sen­ate districts?

First, let’s look at the leg­isla­tive map cre­at­ed by the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion. It is impor­tant to note that their plan split twen­ty-four cities that did­n’t need to be split due to size. These are: Aberdeen, Auburn, Bat­tle Ground, Belle­vue, Belling­ham, Bre­mer­ton, Burien, Des Moines, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Ken­newick, Kent, Kirk­land, Lake­wood, Lyn­nwood, Marysville, Mount Ver­non, Mount­lake Ter­race, Pas­co, Red­mond, Ren­ton, Sam­mamish, and Yakima.

Fur­ther­more, their plan split sev­en coun­ties that did­n’t need to be based on their pop­u­la­tion. The coun­ties that got split are Cowlitz, Franklin, Grant, Grays Har­bor, Lewis, Okanogan, and Skagit.

Take a look at this gallery of cur­rent statewide Wash­ing­ton leg­isla­tive maps. (Note: Devi­a­tions from actu­al map are the result of Dav­e’s Redis­trict­ing App not allow­ing for the split­ting of vot­ing precincts, while the Com­mis­sion could):

[image­brows­er id=1]

Elec­toral per­for­mance of the cur­rent Wash­ing­ton leg­isla­tive map based on the 2008 Pres­i­den­tial and 2010 Sen­ate elections:

Washington Legislative - Chart

Last year, John Milem (a cit­i­zen activist from Van­cou­ver who fol­lowed the redis­trict­ing process close­ly) filed a law­suit to chal­lenge the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion’s maps. As part of his com­plaint, Milem cre­at­ed his own plan that he felt would actu­al­ly fol­low those pre­vi­ous­ly stat­ed canons of redistricting.

Here is a statewide look at his leg­isla­tive map:

Milem Lawsuit - Legislative - Statewide

And an inset of the Puget Sound region:

Milem Lawsuit - Legislative - Puget Sound

One of the big flaws with Milem’s plan is that he does not take incum­ben­cy into account. By that, I don’t mean pro­tect­ing incum­bents from an elec­toral chal­lenge, but pre­vent­ing incum­bent state sen­a­tors from rep­re­sent­ing a dis­trict where they do not reside. Specif­i­cal­ly, I’m talk­ing about sen­a­tors who aren’t up for elec­tion in the year fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of redis­trict­ing, in this case in 2012.

Cal­i­for­nia is cur­rent­ly fac­ing as sim­i­lar prob­lem in the after­math of their com­plete over­haul of their redis­trict­ing process.

Only half of Wash­ing­ton state sen­a­tors are up for elec­tion each cycle, so when tasked with leg­isla­tive redis­trict­ing – as opposed to con­gres­sion­al redis­trict­ing where all incum­bent U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives are up for elec­tion in each even-num­bered year – any­one attempt­ing to draw new maps must seek to avoid hav­ing those state sen­a­tors not up for elec­tion dis­trict­ed out.

In at least four cas­es, Milem dis­trict­ed two state sen­a­tors into the same dis­trict when nei­ther were up for elec­tion in 2012 – his 4th (Ranker & Erick­sen), 25th (Eide & Keis­er), 21st (Kohl-Welles & Mur­ray) and 8th (Sells & Shin) Leg­isla­tive Districts.

Under Milem’s plan, more than 8% of the State Sen­ate would be rep­re­sent­ed by sen­a­tors who don’t live in their district.

One solu­tion to this would be to do what Texas does (one of the few sen­si­ble things they do) which is to make all of state sen­a­tors stand for elec­tion the year fol­low­ing redis­trict­ing. Then, after the elec­tion, they’d have to draw straws, with half get­ting the short straw and serv­ing a two-year term, and the oth­er half draw­ing a long straw and serv­ing a four-year term. While Texas still does a ridicu­lous amount of ger­ry­man­der­ing, they don’t have to for rea­sons of state sen­a­tors not being up for elec­tion. Wash­ing­ton could do the same thing.

I don’t like the prac­tice of split­ting cities when cities could be divid­ed more sim­ply or not at all. Milem splits the cities of Taco­ma and Ren­ton into four and three LDs, respec­tive­ly, while Taco­ma only needs to be split into two dis­tricts and Ren­ton does not need to be split at all, which I was able accom­plish in both cases.

But I do agree with much of what John Milem pro­posed — and that’s why you’ll see sev­er­al sim­i­lar­i­ties in our approach­es. In the end, his plan split only five cities that did­n’t need to be based on size; those being: Belle­vue, Both­ell, Coulee Dam, Ren­ton, and Yaki­ma. Also, his plan splits only one unnec­es­sary coun­ty, Skag­it, but he dis­re­gards the neces­si­ty for con­nec­tiv­i­ty with his Island Coun­ty dis­trict hav­ing no way to get from Camano Island to Whid­bey Island.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I was­n’t able cre­ate a chart of the elec­toral per­for­mance of John Milem’s pro­posed leg­isla­tive map, since I don’t have shape files for his plan to plug into Dav­e’s Redis­trict­ing App and it’s too hard to “eye­ball” it.

Now final­ly, we come to my pro­posed State Sen­ate and House pro­posed redis­trict­ing maps. There are four­teen maps in all in this gallery, and you can page through them by click­ing the nav­i­ga­tion but­tons below the first image.

The first two maps show a state-lev­el view of pro­posed House and Sen­ate dis­tricts, while the remain­ing twelve maps are insets of pop­u­lat­ed areas like Puget Sound and the heart of the Inland Empire. You can click on any image for a big­ger view.

[image­brows­er id=2]

Here is a chart of the elec­toral per­for­mance of my pro­posed State Sen­ate map:

Richard's Senate - Statewide - Chart

And here is a chart of the elec­toral per­for­mance of my pro­posed State House map:

Richard's House - Statewide - Chart

Now I’ll go through the pro­posed dis­tricts and note their characteristics.

(Note: I used num­ber­ing sim­i­lar to what’s being used cur­rent­ly, but in cas­es of where there was an incum­bent state sen­a­tor that was­n’t up for elec­tion in 2012, his or her dis­trict num­ber took prece­dence. For exam­ple, Derek Kilmer was­n’t up in 2012, so his hypo­thet­i­cal “new” dis­trict is num­bered #26, even though #27 more close­ly resem­bles his pro­posed district.)

1st SD: Like­ly-to-safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic sub­ur­ban dis­trict strad­dling King-Sno­homish Coun­ty line with all of Both­ell (which is in both coun­ties), Wood­inville, Brier, and Ken­more. HD 1 is an entire­ly King Coun­ty safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict, includ­ing Both­ell (King Coun­ty por­tion), Wood­inville, and Ken­more, while HD 2 is a like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic com­plete­ly Sno­homish Coun­ty dis­trict includ­ing Both­ell (Sno­homish Coun­ty por­tion), Brier, and the unin­cor­po­rat­ed North Creek community.

2nd SD: Safe Repub­li­can rural/suburban dis­trict strad­dling Pierce-Thurston Coun­ty line with most of JBLM and all of Steila­coom, Yelm, Ort­ing, and Eatonville. HD 3 is the more west­er­ly like­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict, includ­ing JBLM, Steila­coom, Yelm, and Dupont. Oba­ma lost by less than two hun­dred and fifty votes here in 2008, but it’d take an excep­tion­al cir­cum­stance for a Demo­c­rat to be elect­ed here. HD 4 is the east­ern safe Repub­li­can, more rur­al dis­trict, includ­ing Ort­ing, Eatonville, and the unin­cor­po­rat­ed Gra­ham community.

3rd SD: Tossup urban/suburban dis­trict with north­ern Spokane and unin­cor­po­rat­ed sub­urbs north of Spokane. It’s worth not­ing that I made 3rd and 6th SDs basi­cal­ly elec­toral­ly equiv­a­lent. In both pro­posed sen­ate dis­tricts, Pat­ty Mur­ray won by 50.1–50.0%. Both very swingy, in pur­suit of elec­toral com­pe­ti­tion (and since Spokane must be split). Also, like the 6th SD, the House dis­tricts redound­ed to a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict entire­ly with­in the city of Spokane, in this case HD 5, and a like­ly Repub­li­can, most­ly sub­ur­ban dis­trict, in this case HD 6.

4th SD: Safe Repub­li­can suburban/rural dis­trict east of Spokane cen­tered around Spokane Val­ley. HD 7 is the more rur­al and more Repub­li­can dis­trict, while HD 8 is the region on Spokane Val­ley (and Mill­wood) near­est the city of Spokane and some­what less con­ser­v­a­tive, though both are still safe Repub­li­can districts.

5th SD: Like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict; locat­ed in a dif­fer­ent area of King Coun­ty than the cur­rent 5th Dis­trict, rep­re­sent­ed by Mark Mul­let in the Sen­ate. This was drawn as a diverse (53% white) dis­trict, includ­ing all of Kent and Cov­ing­ton. HD 9 is west­ern Kent safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­trict, while HD 10 is a tossup dis­trict includ­ing east­ern Kent and Cov­ing­ton (only 58% white).

6th SD: Tossup (see 3rd SD) Spokane Coun­ty dis­trict with south­ern and north­west­ern Spokane and Cheney, Med­ical Lake and Fairchild Air Force Base. As stat­ed ear­li­er, with Dav­e’s Redis­trict­ing App, you can­not split precincts, though it would require enough land to con­nect the col­lege town Cheney with the rest of the dis­trict. HD 11 and HD 12 are sim­i­lar to HD 5 and HD 6, respec­tive­ly, in that they are com­posed of a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic city of Spokane dis­trict and a like­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict most­ly made up of pop­u­la­tions out­side the city. Its also worth not­ing that the divid­ing line between SD 3 and SD 6 was very clean­ly done along I‑90.

7th SD: Safe Repub­li­can Okanogan high­lands dis­tric that includes the entire­ty of the coun­ties of Okanogan, Fer­ry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille as well as north­ern (rur­al) Spokane Coun­ty. HD 13 is a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict, but it notably hap­pens to have the high­est Native Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion (11%) of any pro­posed House Dis­trict by includ­ing both the Spokane and Colville Indi­an Reser­va­tions as well as all of Okanogan, Fer­ry, and west­ern Stevens Coun­ties. HD 14 is a less diverse, safe Repub­li­can dis­trict that takes in Pend Oreille Coun­ty, east­ern Stevens Coun­ty, and north­ern Spokane Coun­ty (which is very rural).

8th SD: Safe Repub­li­can Ben­ton Coun­ty dis­trict with all of Rich­land and almost all of Ken­newick (split to con­nect Ben­ton and Frankling Coun­ties) as well as the Han­ford Nuclear reser­va­tion. HD 15 is a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict whol­ly with­in the city of Ken­newick (25% His­pan­ic), where­as HD 16 is a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict, includ­ing the cities of Rich­land, West Rich­land and small amount of Kennewick.

9th SD: Safe Repub­li­can south­east Wash­ing­ton dis­trict con­tain­ing Wal­la Wal­la and Pull­man (both col­lege towns) and agri­cul­tur­al ter­ri­to­ry. This dis­trict includes the entire­ty of Wal­la Wal­la, Colum­bia, Garfield, Asotin, and Whit­man Coun­ties as well as some of rur­al south­east Spokane Coun­ty. HD 17 is a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict, includ­ing Wal­la Wal­la, Colum­bia, Garfield, and Asotin (exclud­ing the Lewis­ton area) Coun­ties, while in HD 18, includ­ing all of Whit­man Coun­ty, the Lewis­ton area in Asotin Coun­ty, and rur­al south­east Spokane County.

10th SD: Tossup-to-lean Repub­li­can Sno­homish and Island Coun­ty dis­trict con­tain­ing Marysville, Arling­ton, Stan­wood, the Tualip Indi­an Reser­va­tion and Camano Island. HD 19 is the more rur­al, lean Repub­li­can dis­trict out­side of Marysville includ­ing the Tualip Indi­an Reser­va­tion, while HD 20 is a tossup dis­trict that’s near­ly com­plete­ly with­in the city of Marysville.

11th SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­sist­ing of Ren­ton, New­cas­tle and south­west Belle­vue. The Com­mis­sion’s 11th LD is bizarrely shaped, but a major­i­ty-minor­i­ty dis­trict. My 11th SD is not, but is only 53.3% white. I had to very slight­ly ger­ry­man­der HD 21 to make it major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­trict. HD 21 is pret­ty much all Ren­ton, while HD 22 is a less diverse (57% white) safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict made up of north­ern Ren­ton, all of New­cas­tle and the New­port, Som­er­set, and Fac­to­ria neigh­bor­hoods of Bellevue.

12th SD: Safe Repub­li­can dis­trict has all of Kit­ti­tas and Chelan Coun­ties and East Wenatchee in Dou­glas Coun­ty. HD 23 is a com­pact safe Repub­li­can dis­trict span­ning Cash­mere, Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. It has a siz­able His­pan­ic pop­u­la­tion (27%), while HD 24 is a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict com­posed of rur­al com­mu­ni­ties in the elec­tric­i­ty-gen­er­at­ing Kit­ti­tas and Chelan Counties.

13th SD: Safe Repub­li­can dis­trict includ­ing all of Lin­coln and Grant Coun­ties, most of Dou­glas Coun­ty except East Wenatchee, and rur­al west­ern Spokane Coun­ty. While still a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict, HD 25 is a major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­trict (46% His­pan­ic) in south­ern Grant Coun­ty cen­tered around Moses Lake, but also includ­ing the small towns of Quin­cy and Mat­tawa. HD 26 is a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict, more rur­al and con­sid­er­ably less diverse (82.6% white), with US High­way 2 run­ning through the mid­dle. It includes all of Lin­coln Coun­ty, most of Dou­glas Coun­ty, north­ern Grant Coun­ty, and rur­al west­ern Spokane County.

14th SD: Safe Repub­li­can dis­trict in north­ern Yaki­ma Coun­ty com­pris­ing all of Mox­ee, Selah, Zil­lah, Sun­ny­side, and Grand­view and the west­ern (more white) part of the city of Yaki­ma. The city of Yaki­ma was split due to it being rather seg­re­gat­ed, with east Yaki­ma being heav­i­ly His­pan­ic, while west Yaki­ma not hav­ing much of a minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tion. Thus, in the inter­est of cre­at­ing elec­toral­ly com­pet­i­tive (See: SD 15) that did­n’t divide a “com­mu­ni­ty of inter­est” (read: com­mu­ni­ties of col­or), I split the city of Yaki­ma, which isn’t nec­es­sary based on its pop­u­la­tion. Both HD 27 (east) and HD 28 (west) are safe Repub­li­can dis­tricts, but HD 27 is a major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­trict with a 57% His­pan­ic population.

15th SD: Tossup major­i­ty-minor­i­ty sen­ate dis­trict (47% white) tak­ing in the rest of Yaki­ma Coun­ty not in the 14th SD, Ska­ma­nia Coun­ty, Klick­i­tat Coun­ty and a small por­tion of Clark Coun­ty. HD 29 is exclu­sive­ly east Yaki­ma and Union Gap, a major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­trict (51% His­pan­ic) and elec­toral­ly, a tossup dis­trict. HD 30 con­tains basi­cal­ly all of the Yaka­ma Indi­an Reser­va­tion and has the sec­ond high­est pop­u­la­tion of Native Amer­i­cans (10.7%) of the pro­posed House Dis­tricts. HD 30 is a tossup dis­trict and, while not major­i­ty-minor­i­ty, is only 51.7% white.

16th SD: Safe Repub­li­can major­i­ty-minor­i­ty sen­ate dis­trict that has all of Franklin and Adams Coun­ties, rur­al Ben­ton Coun­ty and a small por­tion of unin­cor­po­rat­ed Yaki­ma Coun­ty south of Grand­view. Both HD 31 (south) and HD 32 (north) are major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­tricts and very safe Repub­li­can districts.

17th SD: Lean Repub­li­can dis­trict entire­ly in Clark Coun­ty con­tain­ing east­ern Van­cou­ver, Camas, and Washou­gal. HD 33 is a tossup dis­trict entire­ly in east­ern Van­cou­ver, while HD 34 is a like­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict includ­ing all of Camas and Washou­gal and a small amount of the city of Van­cou­ver in the Mill Plain area.

18th SD: Safe Repub­li­can dis­trict con­tain­ing rur­al and sub­ur­ban unin­cor­po­rat­ed Clark Coun­ty with the small towns of Bat­tle Ground and Ridge­field. HD 35 is a rur­al, very safe Repub­li­can dis­trict cen­tered around Bat­tle Ground, while HD 36 includ­ing the unin­cor­po­rat­ed cen­sus-des­ig­nat­ed places in the Van­cou­ver sub­urbs of Orchards, Five Cor­ners, and Mount Vista is more mod­er­ate, like­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict where Democ­rats could be elec­toral­ly competitive.

19th SD: Tossup dis­trict com­prised of Pacif­ic, Wahki­akum, and Cowlitz Coun­ties and a small por­tion of Clark Coun­ty in and around La Cen­ter. HD 37 is a like­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict in east­ern Cowlitz Coun­ty, includ­ing Kel­so, Kala­ma, and Cas­tle Rock, and the small por­tion of Clark Coun­ty in SD 19, while HD 38 is a lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing all of Pacif­ic and Wahki­akum Coun­ties and Longview in Cowlitz Coun­ty. It is worth not­ing that con­sid­er­ing the per­for­mance of Oba­ma and Mur­ray, this would be con­sid­ered rather elec­toral­ly com­pet­i­tive, but con­ser­v­a­tive and bicon­cep­tu­al Democ­rats have been elect­ed in this area for a long time.

20th SD: Safe Repub­li­can dis­trict con­sist­ing of all of Lewis Coun­ty, includ­ing the cities of Cen­tralia and Chehalis, and rur­al south­ern Thurston Coun­ty. HD 39, which is most­ly south­ern Thurston Coun­ty and rur­al areas around Cen­tralia in Lewis Coun­ty, was won by Oba­ma by more than 450 votes in 2008, though based on Mur­ray’s per­for­mance in 2010 is still at best only a lean Repub­li­can dis­trict. On the oth­er hand, HD 40, includ­ing near­ly all of Lewis Coun­ty, is a very safe Repub­li­can dis­trict, par­tic­u­lar­ly for west­ern Washington.

21st SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic coastal What­com Coun­ty dis­trict con­tain­ing all of Belling­ham, Fer­n­dale, and Blaine. HD 41 is a like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing Fer­n­dale, Blaine, and north­ern Belling­ham, as well as the Lum­mi Indi­an Reser­va­tion, while HD 42 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­tain­ing south­ern Belling­ham and the unin­cor­po­rat­ed Sud­den Val­ley com­mu­ni­ty south of Lake Whatcom.

(Aside: The num­ber­ing of this dis­trict was the biggest conun­drum in cre­at­ing this map, since the cur­rent 21st LD is rep­re­sent­ed by Sen. Paull Shin, who was­n’t up for elec­tion in 2012. Sev­er­al oth­er sen­a­tors were in the same boat, specif­i­cal­ly the 38th LD’s Nick Harp­er, the 44th LD’s Steve Hobbs, and the 32nd LD’s Mar­a­lyn Chase. I chose to make it the 21st dis­trict and moved it to What­com Coun­ty, since it least resem­bled the pro­posed Sno­homish Coun­ty sen­ate dis­tricts. This would result in one state sen­a­tor, Paull Shin, rep­re­sent­ing a dis­trict where he does­n’t live, but that is bet­ter than four in John Milem’s proposal.)

22nd SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic Thurston Coun­ty dis­trict includ­ing the state cap­i­tal of Olympia and its sub­urb Lacey. HD 43 is a like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­tain­ing Lacey and the unin­cor­po­rat­ed cen­sus-des­ig­nat­ed place Tan­glewil­de-Thomp­son Place. HD 44 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic house dis­trict cen­tered around Olympia.

23rd SD: Lean-to-like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic Kit­sap Coun­ty dis­trict tak­ing in the cities of Pouls­bo, Sil­verdale and Bain­bridge Island. HD 45 is a safe Repub­li­can cen­tral Kit­sap Coun­ty dis­trict con­tain­ing the unin­cor­po­rat­ed cen­sus-des­ig­nat­ed places Sil­verdale, Tra­cy­ton, and Erlands Point-Kit­sap Lake and near­by areas. HD 46 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic north­ern Kit­sap Coun­ty dis­trict con­tain­ing Pouls­bo, Bain­bridge Island, and the Port Madi­son Indi­an Reservation.

24th SD: Lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­tain­ing all of Clal­lam and Jef­fer­son Coun­ties and north­west­ern Grays Har­bor Coun­ty with the nat­ur­al bor­der of Chehalis Riv­er, includ­ing Aberdeen north of the Chehalis Riv­er and the cities of Port Ange­les, Hoquiam, and Port Townsend. HD 47 is a tossup-to-lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict that has the 3rd largest Native Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion (7.2%) of the pro­posed house dis­tricts by includ­ing the Makah and Quin­ault Indi­an Reser­va­tions as well as rur­al sec­tion of Clal­lam, Jef­fer­son and Grays Har­bor coun­ties as well as the towns of Port Ange­les, Hoquiam, Forks, and Ocean Shores. HD 48 is a more com­pact & afflu­ent, less diverse (90.5% white) lean-to-like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict cen­tered around the cities of Port Townsend and Sequim.

(Aside: Like the 19th SD, accord­ing to the per­for­mance of Oba­ma and Mur­ray, you’d expect this area to be a lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict, mod­er­ate-to-con­ser­v­a­tive Democ­rats have been elect­ed here for a long time by com­fort­able margins.)

25th SD: Lean-to-like­ly Repub­li­can Pierce Coun­ty dis­trict cen­tered around Puyallup and unin­cor­po­rat­ed Taco­ma sub­urbs of South Hill, Waller and Fred­er­ick­son. Both HD 49 and HD 50 are lean-to-like­ly Repub­li­can dis­tricts, but are com­posed of Puyallup and South Hill (west) and Waller and Fred­er­ick­son (east), respectively.

26th SD: Like­ly-to-safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pierce Coun­ty dis­trict in north­ern Taco­ma (exclud­ing the Hill­top area), Gig Har­bor and Fir­crest. I cre­at­ed a major­i­ty-minor­i­ty dis­trict in south­ern Taco­ma (SD 29) and did­n’t want to split Taco­ma into more than 2 SDs, which result­ed in this 79% white dis­trict. HD 51 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing the Taco­ma neigh­bor­hoods of North­east Taco­ma, New Taco­ma, and North End, while HD 52 is a tossup dis­trict includ­ing Fir­crest, Gig Har­bor, the unin­cor­po­rat­ed Arton­dale area, Fox Island, and Taco­ma’s West End neighborhood.

27th SD: Tossup-to-lean Repub­li­can dis­trict with the larg­er cities of Bre­mer­ton and Port Orchard and rur­al areas in south­ern Kit­sap and Pierce Coun­ties on the Kit­sap Penin­su­la. This area saw some of the small­est drop-offs in Demo­c­ra­t­ic per­for­mance when com­par­ing the results of Oba­ma in 2008 and Mur­ray in 2010, which is like­ly due to the large mil­i­tary (naval) pres­ence in the Bre­mer­ton area and Mur­ray’s work on vet­er­ans’ issues. HD 53 is a tossup dis­trict cen­tered around Bre­mer­ton, while HD 54 is a lean Repub­li­can dis­trict includ­ing Port Orchard. It’s the only dis­trict to cross the Pierce-Kit­sap line (which result­ed in it being some­what odd-shaped).

28th SD: Lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic sub­ur­ban Pierce Coun­ty dis­trict between Taco­ma and Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM), includ­ing the cities of Lake­wood and Uni­ver­si­ty Place and unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ties in Park­land and Spanaway. Also includ­ed a small part of JBLM to have a more com­pact dis­trict, but not nec­es­sary. HD 55 is the south­ern, more diverse (less than 56% white) lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing parts of Lake­wood, Park­land and Spanaway, while HD 56 is the north­ern lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing all of Uni­ver­si­ty Place and part of Lakewood.

29th SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty-minor­i­ty sen­ate dis­trict in south­ern Taco­ma, Fife, and unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ties in Park­land and Mid­land. Both HD 57 (south) and HD 58 (north) are safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house districts.

30th SD: Like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic King Coun­ty dis­trict that’s prin­ci­pal­ly Fed­er­al Way, most of Des Moines, and unin­cor­po­rat­ed Lake­land com­mu­ni­ties. It’s worth not­ing that all of Des Moines can’t be in the same dis­trict since both Sen. Eide (LD-30) and Sen. Kaiser (LD-33) live in Des Moines and weren’t up for elec­tion in 2012. HD 59 is a lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic, less diverse (57.5% white) dis­trict in south­ern Fed­er­al Way and unin­cor­po­rat­ed Lake­land South, while HD 60 is a like­ly-to-safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic more diverse (52.4% white) dis­trict in north­ern Fed­er­al Way, most of Des Moines, and unin­cor­po­rat­ed Lake­land North.

31st SD: Like­ly-to-safe Repub­li­can rural/suburban dis­trict with in south­east­ern King Coun­ty and east­ern Pierce Coun­ties and the mod­est­ly-sized cities of Buck­ley, Maple Val­ley, Black Dia­mond, Enum­claw, and Sno­qualmie. HD 61 is a safe Repub­li­can dis­trict that cross­es the King-Pierce Coun­ty line, tak­ing in Enum­claw and Buck­ley plus the unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ties of Prairie Ridge and Lake Mor­ton-Berry­dale. HD 62 is a lean Repub­li­can King Coun­ty dis­trict that includes Black Dia­mond, Maple Val­ley, Sno­qualmie and North Bend. A strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date could poten­tial­ly turn HD 62 into a tossup district.

32nd SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic south­east Sno­homish Coun­ty encom­pass­ing the cities of Edmonds, Lyn­nwood, and Mount­lake Ter­race, which often help King Coun­ty car­ry the state. HD 63 is a fair­ly diverse (59% white) safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict cen­tered around Lyn­nwood, while HD 64 is a much less diverse (76.5% white) safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing Edmonds, Mount­lake Ter­race, and Woodway.

33rd SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic King Coun­ty major­i­ty-minor­i­ty sen­ate dis­trict tak­ing in the cities of Burien, SeaT­ac, Tuk­wila, and the north­ern tip of Des Moines. HD 65 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic, much-less diverse (56% white) dis­trict includ­ing Burien, Nor­mandy Park, the north­ern tip of Des Moines and the unin­cor­po­rat­ed White Cen­ter com­mu­ni­ty, while HD 66 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­trict (36% white) includ­ing SeaT­ac, Tuk­wila, and unin­cor­po­rat­ed River­ton-Boule­vard Park and Bryn Mawr-Sky­way communities.

34th SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing the Seat­tle neigh­bor­hoods of Down­town, West Seat­tle, Del­ridge, George­town, South Park, and Bea­con Hill west of Bea­con Ave as well as Vashon Island. HD 67 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing West Seat­tle and Vashon Island, while HD 68 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­trict includ­ing the Seat­tle neigh­bor­hoods of Down­town, George­town, Del­ridge, South Park, and Bea­con Hill west of Bea­con Ave.

35th SD: Tossup-to-lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­tain­ing all of Mason Coun­ty, west­ern Thurston Coun­ty, and south­east­ern Grays Har­bor Coun­ty, includ­ing Mon­te­sano, Cos­mopo­lis, and Elma. HD 69 is a lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict cross­ing the Grays Har­bor-Thurston coun­ty line, includ­ing Tumwa­ter, Mon­te­sano, Cos­mopo­lis, and Elma, while HD 70 is a tossup dis­trict span­ning all of Mason Coun­ty, as well as a small amount of unin­cor­po­rat­ed north­west­ern Thurston County.

36th SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic Seat­tle dis­trict west of High­way 99 (also known as Auro­ra Avenue) includ­ing the neigh­bor­hoods of Bal­lard, Queen Anne, Inter­bay, and Mag­no­lia. HD 71 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict encom­pass­ing the neigh­bor­hoods of Fre­mont, West­lake, Queen Anne, Inter­bay, and Mag­no­lia, while HD 72 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict that spans the neigh­bor­hoods of Bal­lard, Phin­ney Ridge, North Beach/Blue Ridge, Crown Hill, and Greewood.

37th SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic south­east Seat­tle major­i­ty-minor­i­ty sen­ate dis­trict, includ­ing the neigh­bor­hoods of Rainier Val­ley, Seward Park, Cen­tral Area and Bea­con Hill east of Bea­con Ave. HD 73 is a very diverse (28% white) safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­trict, includ­ing the neigh­bor­hoods of Rainier Val­ley, Seward Park, and Bea­con Hill east of Bea­con Ave, while HD 74 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing the neigh­bor­hoods of Cen­tral Area and Madi­son Park.

38th SD: Like­ly-to-safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sno­homish Coun­ty dis­trict includ­ing the cities of Everett and Muk­il­teo. HD 75 is a like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing all of Muk­il­teo, Everett neigh­bor­hoods south of High­way 526, and unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ties of Lake Stick­ney and Pic­nic Point-North Lyn­nwood, while HD 76 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict near­ly exclu­sive­ly in the city of Everett north of SR 526.

39th SD: Lean Repub­li­can mul­ti-coun­ty dis­trict (tak­ing in areas of King & Sno­homish) includ­ing the Cas­cade foothill cities of Mon­roe, Gran­ite Falls, Car­na­tion, and Duvall. HD 77 is a like­ly Repub­li­can Sno­homish Coun­ty dis­trict includ­ing Gran­ite Falls, Mon­roe, and unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ties of Canyon Creek, Three Lakes, and Woods Creek, while HD 78 is a tossup dis­trict cross­ing the King-Sno­homish Coun­ty Line includ­ing the cities of Duvall, Car­na­tion, Sul­tan, and Skykomish and the unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ty of Maltby.

40th SD: Lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­tain­ing all of San Juan Coun­ty, coastal Skag­it Coun­ty — prin­ci­pal­ly Ana­cortes, Burling­ton and Sedro-Wool­ley — and Whid­bey Island in Island Coun­ty. HD 79 is a like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing all of San Juan Coun­ty and the cities of Ana­cortes, Burling­ton, and Sedro-Wool­ley in Skag­it Coun­ty, while HD 80 is a tossup dis­trict though there was a very small drop-offs in Demo­c­ra­t­ic per­for­mance when com­par­ing the results of Oba­ma in 2008 and Mur­ray in 2010 (only 2.4%), which is like­ly due to the large mil­i­tary (naval air­fields) pres­ence on Whid­bey Island and Mur­ray’s work on vet­er­ans’ issues.

41st SD: Tossup afflu­ent exur­ban dis­trict con­tain­ing Issaquah, Sam­mamish, and the unin­cor­po­rat­ed East Ren­ton High­lands. HD 81 is a tossup-to-lean Repub­li­can dis­trict includ­ing the city of Sam­mamish and unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ties of Union Hill-Nov­el­ty Hill and Kla­hanie, while HD 82 is a tossup-to-lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic cen­tered around the city of Issaquah and unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ties of East Ren­ton High­lands, Fair­wood, and Maple Heights-Lake Desire.

42nd SD: Safe Repub­li­can rur­al What­com, Skag­it, and north­ern Sno­homish Coun­ty dis­trict with the only major cities being Mount Ver­non and Lyn­den. HD 83 is a very safe Repub­li­can dis­trict cen­tered around Lyn­den, while HD 84 is a tossup-to-lean Repub­li­can dis­trict with the mod­er­ate­ly-sized city of Mount Ver­non and low-pop­u­la­tion den­si­ty Cas­cade foothills areas of Skag­it, east­ern What­com, and north­ern Sno­homish Counties.

43rd SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic Seat­tle dis­trict cen­tered around the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, Seat­tle’s largest employ­er. HD 85 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing the Seat­tle neigh­bor­hoods of Green Lake, Maple Leaf, Win­der­mere, and Lau­rel­hurst, while HD 86 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing the Seat­tle neigh­bor­hoods of Walling­ford, Uni­ver­si­ty Dis­trict and Capi­tol Hill.

44th SD: Tossup Sno­homish Coun­ty dis­trict that takes in the cities of Lake Stevens, Sno­homish, and Mill Creek. HD 87 is a tossup-to-lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict cen­tered around Mill Creek, while HD 88 is a tossup-to-lean Repub­li­can dis­trict includ­ing the cities of Lake Stevens and Snohomish.

45th SD: Like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­tain­ing only Kirk­land and Red­mond. HD 89 is a like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict entire­ly with­in the city of Kirk­land, while HD 90 con­tains all of Red­mond, the Kings­gate area of Kirk­land, and some of the unin­cor­po­rat­ed com­mu­ni­ty of Union Hill-Nov­el­ty Hill. It is impor­tant to note that social­ly lib­er­al Repub­li­cans have done well in afflu­ent East­side (of Lake Wash­ing­ton) areas, like those includ­ed in these dis­tricts, but Red­mond and Kirk­land have been vot­ing far more con­sis­tent­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic since 2006 than they used to.

46th SD: Safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing Shore­line, Lake For­est Park, and the Seat­tle neigh­bor­hoods of Wedge­wood, Lake City, North­gate, and Broad­view. HD 91 is safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing the cities of Shore­line and Lake For­est Park and the Seat­tle neigh­bor­hood of Cedar Park, while HD 92 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic Seat­tle dis­trict span­ning the neigh­bor­hoods of Wedge­wood, Broad­view, Bit­ter Lake, Haller Lake, Pine­hurst, and Lake City.

47th SD: Tossup-to-lean Repub­li­can sub­ur­ban King-Pierce Coun­ty dis­trict encom­pass­ing Auburn, Mil­ton, Sum­n­er, and Bon­ney Lake. HD 93 is a tossup-to-lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic King Coun­ty dis­trict includ­ing all of Algo­na and the King Coun­ty por­tion of Auburn (which is 90% of the city), while HD 94 is a like­ly Repub­li­can King-Pierce dis­trict includ­ing the cities of Sum­n­er, Edge­wood, and Bon­ney Lake, as well as the Pierce Coun­ty por­tion of Auburn and both Mil­ton and Pacif­ic, which have the dis­tinc­tion of also being in mul­ti­ple counties.

48th SD: Like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­tain­ing the very afflu­ent com­mu­ni­ty of Mer­cer Island, the very wealthy city of Med­i­na and the afflu­ent neigh­bor­hoods of north­ern Belle­vue. Despite Oba­ma and Mur­ray’s strong per­for­mance in this dis­trict, social­ly lib­er­al Repub­li­cans have done well here for a long time. HD 95 is a lean Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict includ­ing the extreme­ly wealthy small sub­urbs at the east­ern end of the Ever­green Point Float­ing Bridge includ­ing Med­i­na, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Yarrow Point, as well as Mer­cer Island and west­ern Belle­vue. On the oth­er hand, HD 96 is a like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict in east­ern Belle­vue — only 55.6% white.

49th SD: Lean-to-like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict con­sist­ing of west­ern Van­cou­ver (and its unin­cor­po­rat­ed sub­urbs, which fall under the juris­dic­tion of Clark Coun­ty). HD 97 is a tossup dis­trict com­posed of the unin­cor­po­rat­ed Van­cou­ver sub­urbs includ­ing Wal­nut Grove, Fel­i­da, and Min­neha­ha as well as part of the city itself, while HD 98 is a safe Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict that’s near­ly com­plete­ly with­in Vancouver.

My Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate redis­trict­ing plan splits only six cities that did­n’t need to be, based on size, with those being: Aberdeen, Belle­vue, Coulee Dam, Des Moines, Yaki­ma, and Ken­newick (slight­ly for trans­porta­tion-con­nec­tiv­i­ty). This is only one more city than Milem’s leg­isla­tive redis­trict­ing plan.

In addi­tion, my plan splits only four coun­ties: Dou­glas, Grays Har­bor, Island, and Skag­it, while Milem split only one unnec­es­sary coun­ty — Skag­it. Milem, though in my opin­ion, failed to have con­tigu­ous, i.e. con­nect­ed by trans­porta­tion, leg­isla­tive dis­trict for his dis­trict includ­ing Island Coun­ty, since there is no means of trans­porta­tion between Camano and Whid­bey Islands.

To the ques­tion as to whether this map, as well as sin­gle-mem­ber house dis­tricts, result in a greater num­ber of dis­tricts where minori­ties have a good chance of being elect­ed, the num­bers bear it out. In the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion’s map, with mul­ti-mem­ber dis­ticts, there are only 4 major­i­ty-minor­i­ty sen­ate dis­tricts, and there­fore only 8 house seats in dis­tricts that are majority-minority.

There’s one dis­trict (two House seats) with a white pop­u­la­tion between fifty per­cent and fifty-five per­cent and two dis­tricts (four House seats) with a white pop­u­la­tion between fifty-five per­cent and six­ty percent.

On the oth­er hand, my Sen­ate plan results in five major­i­ty-minor­i­ty sen­ate dis­tricts (a twen­ty-five per­cent increase over the Com­mis­sion’s plan), three Sen­ate dis­tricts with a white pop­u­la­tion between fifty per­cent and fifty-five per­cent (a two hun­dred per­cent increase) and one Sen­ate dis­trict with a white pop­u­la­tion between fifty-five and six­ty per­cent (a fifty per­cent decrease).

My House plan results in twelve major­i­ty-minor­i­ty house dis­tricts (a fifty per­cent increase), two House dis­tricts with a white pop­u­la­tion between fifty and fifty-five per­cent (no change), and sev­en House dis­tricts (a sev­en­ty-five per­cent increase). That’s a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence from what we have now.

To sum­ma­rize: My Sen­ate map would result in few­er divid­ed “com­mu­ni­ties of inter­est” (in this case minori­ties). My sin­gle-mem­ber House map would give minor­i­ty Wash­ing­to­ni­ans a bet­ter chance of get­ting elect­ed to the Legislature.

So there’s my plan for what I con­sid­er to be a con­sti­tu­tion­al alter­na­tive to Milem’s plan. If peo­ple in Wash­ing­ton state would like sin­gle-mem­ber House dis­tricts, then the time is now to change the law, as it’ll give law­mak­ers a long time to pre­pare for pos­si­bly being dis­trict­ed-out before the 2021 redis­trict­ing process.

If peo­ple are con­cerned about the undue influ­ence that incum­bents can have on the Redis­trict­ing Com­mis­sion, as doc­u­ment­ed by The News Tri­bune of Taco­ma last year, Wash­ing­ton should con­sid­er adopt­ing the lan­guage that Iowa has, as for­mer Wash­ing­ton Sec­re­tary of State Sam Reed dis­cussed, and stip­u­late that redis­trict­ing will be done “with­out regard to par­ty and incumbency”.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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