Court ruling on political boundaries impacts upcoming elections

Last week a US District Court judge issued a ruling that changes legislative boundaries in multiple districts in response to a lawsuit claiming that the recently-adopted maps violated the federal Voting Rights Act.

As a reminder, in 2021 the Washington State Redistricting Commission developed an update to the state’s 49 legislative district boundaries to ensure equal number of Washington residents across districts and that when possible distinct local municipal boundaries fell within the same district. The bipartisan commission map was then approved by the Washington State Legislature in 2022. However, a subsequent legal challenge filed by a group of Yakima and Tri-Cities residents stated that the voice of Latino voters in the Yakima and Tri-Cities areas was diluted based on how legislative district boundaries divided communities.

In his ruling the judge selected an alternative map that was presented indicating that would cure the issue. However, an appeal has been filed already so the case may continue on.

Separate from the voting and representation issue is that the map adopted by the judge also impacts several existing lawmakers placing current state legislators into new districts overlapping with other currently elected officials. Until the appeal is finished it does raise the issue of if some lawmakers will move to their previous district, others will retire, or if some current legislators will run in a new district. Jerry Cornfield at the Washington State Standard did a great job summarizing the potential musical chairs in an article here.

Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Washington Advocacy.