Commentary: Put yourself on the map as state redistricts

Every decade, congressional and legislative districts are redrawn. You can have a say in that process.

By Jeanne Crevier / For The Herald

The once-a-decade redistricting process is underway in Washington state and the Redistricting Commission needs your input.

Every 10 years, after the federal census, Washington state redraws the boundaries of congressional and legislative electoral districts to ensure that each district represents a roughly equal number of residents. Initial 2020 census projections tell us the population of Snohomish County has grown by more than 15 percent since 2010, with the greatest part of this change coming from increases in the Hispanic/Latino and Asian populations. Current voting-district lines will shift to reflect this growth. Will they shift in ways that are fair and representative? That depends. We need good processes, good data and thoughtful input from residents in all communities.

Responsibility for drawing new maps rests with the Washington State Redistricting Commission, an independent commission consisting of four voting members — two Democrats and two Republicans — and a fifth, nonvoting chairperson selected by the commissioners. You can read about the current commission members at Draw Your WA, the Washington State Redistricting Commission website at www.redistricting.wa.gov/.

The League of Women Voters of Washington (LWVWA) commends the commission for its efforts to use modern technology to enable and encourage input. The website is friendly and inviting and includes translations into multiple languages. The site provides an array of ways to provide public comments: testifying at a virtual public meeting, uploading video comments, submitting written testimony, emailing or mailing written comments, submitting voicemail, and uploading mapping suggestions. Comments in any language are welcome. Public meetings are broadcast in Spanish and American Sign Language and free interpreter and translation services are available.

Commissioners intend to view, read and listen to all input received. Moreover, commissioners say they are committed to meeting with anyone who wants to provide comment, demonstrating their intention to be inclusive and responsive. They meet monthly with leaders from Redistricting Justice for Washington, a coalition of 30 organizations, including the LWVWA, Win/Win Network and Community Alliance.

The League of Women Voters has created tools to help residents craft effective personal testimony. You can view training videos from our Speak Up School series and find many resources on the Speakup website, lwvwa.org/speakup.

It is not necessary to draw a map. Simply commenting on your community of interest provides important input. However, technology advances make mapping easier, with many purpose-built free solutions available. The redistricting commission created a DrawYourWA mapping tool. Dave’s Redistricting App, Districtr, and Representable are other good options.

The League also intends to present a mapping recommendation to the commission. We are actively hosting listening sessions regionally and statewide to get feedback from community members on draft versions of these maps. After this extensive outreach process, The LWVWA will submit complete map recommendations for legislative and congressional districts. You can follow this process on the LWVWA mapping webpage: lwvwa.org/maps.

Please join us in advocating for districts that fairly represent our changing demographics. If we want representative maps — and the chance to elect people who reflect our communities and our interests — we need to speak up.

Jeanne Crevier is president of the League of Women Voters of Snohomish County, supporting statewide redistricting efforts of the League of Women Voters of Washington.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Saturday, Feb. 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015 file photo, a tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a wildfire burning near Twisp, Wash. Three firefighters were killed battling the blaze. The story was a top Washington state news item in 2015. Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has proposed a plan to strengthen the ways that Washington can prevent and respond to wildfires. Franz released the 10-year plan last week as part of her $55 million budget request to the Legislature to improve the state's firefighting abilities (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Editorial: Wildfire threat calls for restoring full funding

Lawmakers should restore funding for fighting wildfires and call on one furry firefighter in particular.

Comment: Charity scandal shows Providence ignoring its mission

Ordered to forgive $157 million it charged the poor, the hospital system needs better oversight of officials.

Comment: Wildfire problem is matter of fuel load, not climate

By limiting the harvest of timber in the state we allowed the forests’ fuel load to grow; and then burn.

Comment: Street seating in Snohomish needs to get permit or go

With the pandemic emergency over, the city can’t allow street seating to remain unless permitted.

Forum: Keeping gazebo great idea, but who’s going to pay for it?

The Bayside Neighborhood has discussed this for three years, but the city doesn’t have the $300,000 to restore it.

Ron Friesen
Forum: It’s great to hear when we’re right, but don’t stop there

Being right about taxes, politics, schools and more is so satisfying, but why isn’t enough to fix it all?

toon
Editorial cartoons for Friday, Feb. 23

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Jaime Benedict, who works as a substitute teacher, waves to drivers on the corner of Mukilteo Speedway and Harbor Pointe Boulevard while holding a sign in support of the $240 million capital bond proposal for Mukilteo School District on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in Mukilteo, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Bar set unfairly high for passage of school bonds

Requiring 60 percent approval denies too many students the schools and facilities they deserve.

Comment: Presidential primary launches state’s election season

With ballots in the mail, here’s what to know and how to prepare for making your choice for U.S. president.

Schwab: Moscow’s a paradise, Trump is Navalny, and up is down

If it’s difficult for some in the GOP to keep up with shifts in allegiances, Trump and Tucker are here for it.

School bond supermajority requirement is unacceptable

I’m looking at the Spokesman-Review online like I do every day, and… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.