Washington enacts new congressional districts

Washington enacted new congressional districts on Feb. 8 when the Washington State Senate approved an amended version of a map proposal drafted by the Washington State Redistricting Commission. Washington was apportioned 10 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Washington’s 2022 congressional elections.

Washington’s four redistricting commissioners each released their proposed congressional maps on Sept 28, 2021. On Nov. 16, the commission announced that it was not able to produce new maps by its Nov. 15 deadline and had submitted plans to the Washington Supreme Court for consideration, as authority to draw new maps passed to the court if the commission failed to agree on maps before the deadline. The court accepted the final map drafts the commission submitted, ruling that it had “substantially complied” with the deadline. The Washington House approved the final congressional map proposal on Feb. 2 in an 88-7 vote, and the Senate approved the plan 35-14 on Feb. 8.

Critics of the redistricting plans said the commission’s vote to approve the plan left no time for public input. Mike Fancher of the Washington Coalition for Open Government said, “The commission damaged public trust in our system of governing, which always happens when secrecy prevails over transparency.” Rep. Sharon Wylie (D) said the commission process was still effective. “I’ve not always been happy with the results, but I’ve always felt that our system worked better than in a lot of other states and was more fair,” Wylie said.

As of Feb. 9, 31 states have adopted congressional district maps, and one state has approved congressional district boundaries that have not yet taken effect. Federal or state courts have blocked previously adopted maps in two states, and 10 states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, so no congressional redistricting is required. As of Feb. 9 in 2012, 36 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.

States have completed congressional redistricting for 315 of the 435 seats (72.4%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Additional reading: