A Bedrock Voting Basic
Spokane County Redistricting Committee Informational Meeting Tomorrow
City council, school board, fire district, and judgeship positions are up for election this year in November. In preparation for November we have the top-two primary election coming right up on August 4th for most voters in Washington State. Ballots will be mailed out next week. Democracy only works if we do our homework and vote.
Our civic duty is not fully discharged by voting. Every ten years, in a process mandated in the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, and governed by law, we adjust the voting basics by “redistricting”. When redistricting is properly and equitably done, it insures that people (that’s everybody, not just those who vote) have equal representation in national, state, and local governments. Voting district boundaries are adjusted or redrawn to account for changes in population documented by the decennial census (recently completed).
Redistricting sets the voting boundaries we live by for the next ten years. Each state sets its own rules for the process. In many states it is simply up to the state legislature. In 2010 such states with a Republican majority legislature used computerized gerrymandering (REDMAP) to solidify Republican control.
Since passage of a 1983 initiative, redistricting in Washington State is done by a balanced bi-partisan commission, so, at least theoretically, no single party has the upper hand regardless of what party is in the majority in the legislature.
For residents of Spokane County this year are two similarly structured, but entirely distinct redistricting committees. One committee at the State level is responsible for redistricting of Congressional Districts and State legislative districts (see map) and another, at the County level, is responsible for establishing the five new county commissioner districts where there have been only three, a change mandated by State law. The newly mandated and formed Spokane country redistricting commission is closely modeled on the Washington State redistricting commission.
All of which brings me to this: We owe it to ourselves to take an interest in this process. This opportunity to learn about and take part in redistricting is the bedrock of our governance. The more of us attend, learn, and provide input the more likely we will achieve an equitable outcome. It is the observers as well as the participants that make transparency in government worth having.
Plan to attend the information session tomorrow and the public hearing on July 19—for details see the notification below from the Spokane League of Women Voters.
Keep to the high ground,
Spokane County Redistricting
Spokane County Redistricting Committee Meetings:
Public Information Session #1
Saturday, July 10, 2021
West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt Street, Spokane
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Virtual connection: 1-877-853-5257 (Audio only. No Zoom available.)
Meeting ID: 899 6873 2955
Participant Code: 616859
Public Hearing #1
Monday, July 19, 2021
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, 720 W. Mallon Avenue, Spokane.
5:30 to 7:30 pm
Public Information Session #2 is scheduled for Thursday, August 5, 2021. (Details TBA.)
For more information about Spokane County’s redistricting process, public meetings, committee meetings and more, visit www.RedistrictSpokaneCo.com
Washington State Redistricting
The State Redistricting Commission has completed its first round of testimony. The next round of public testimony meetings will be July 24, 26 and 31. This is a once in a decade chance to weigh in on how our voting districts are drawn.
LWVWA is hosting more listening sessions to help you understand the maps in certain areas and help build a comprehensive state solution. LWVWA will plan to submit mapping solutions for congressional and legislative districts to the commission.
See current input to LWVWA.
Click the links below to register. You will be sent a unique link to enter each meeting. All are welcome.
7/13 5:30-7pm - Seattle, South Seattle, S. King Co Mapping Listening Session
7/14 6:30-8pm - Spokane Area Mapping Listening Session
7/15 6:00-7:30pm - Statewide Mapping Listening Session
7/20 5:30-7pm - Bellevue, E. King Co Mapping Listening Session