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Cross-posted on the Northwest Progressive Institute's website: NPI Post

As a continuation of my earlier DailyKos Diary on a (state) Constitutional Congressional redistricting of Washington state, I came up with a possible Constitutional Legislative map for my state as well as a single-member House plan.

As before, I was spurred to look at this issue following the late John Milem's lawsuit challenging the legality of the Washington State Redistricting Commission's decennial maps. The state Constitution, Article II Section 43, 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.

Also 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 state isn't under the umbrella of Section 5 of the VRA - 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.

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Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 07:56 PM PDT

Washington Redistricting

by chemchampion

In response to John Milem's lawsuit challenging the legality of this year's redistricting maps link I decided to overhaul my redistricting plans to adhere to state Constitution link, principally Article II Section 43, and state laws, principally RCW 44.05.090 link, with regards to redistricting. They state that lines 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.

In Milem's petition link includes his proposed redistricting plans (Appendix 6, pages 49-64). While I agree with much of his brief, I'll post my updated plan with rationale. Chief among my disagreements with Milem is that I feel that racial minorities should be categorized as "communities of interest", thus I found it worthwhile to draw majority-minority districts, and how much importance to put upon dividing counties.

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