Redistricting

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Redistricting

The state’s bipartisan Redistricting Commission was a source of recurring drama in late 2021 and early 2022. The bipartisan four-person commission tasked with redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional maps missed its Nov. 15 deadline, then held a rushed vote after midnight to approve a map they hadn’t yet made public. Several lawsuits accuse the commissioners of violating Washington’s Open Public Meetings Act and claiming that the new maps should be thrown out. 

Senate Bill 5560 - New deadlines for electoral district maps

Official bill information: Senate Bill 5560

Description of the bill: SB 5560, sponsored by Majority Floor Leader Sen. Jamie Pederson, D-Seattle, would require future state redistricting commissioners to publicly release their proposed maps at least three days before voting. “Once the plan has been made publicly available, any amendments to the plan must be debated and voted on in open session, and at least 24 hours must pass after any amendments are adopted before the commission may vote on final approval of the plan,” the bill states.

Washington’s redistricting process was messy last year. The four commissioners tasked with redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional maps — a job that must be completed once every 10 years, in conjunction with the U.S. Census — missed their Nov. 15 deadline, instead holding a rushed vote after midnight to approve a map they hadn’t yet made public after hours of private deliberation. The commissioners were later found to have violated Washington’s Open Public Meetings Act, though the maps were allowed to stand.

Status: Stalled in the Senate Rules Committee.