What is Redistricting?
By Guest Columnist Nancy Churchill
Everywhere I go, I start conversations about politics. In these conversations, people often ask me "What can I do to make a difference?" One elderly gentleman even told me “I’m terrified about the fact I don’t get to vote again until 2024!” Friends, participation in politics isn’t limited to the four-year presidential race. There’s so much more that you can do. There’s so much more that you must do. Politics is an everyday sport. The short answer to the question is Get involved and go to meetings. Think of attending a meeting like having an extra vote... because that's kind of the way it works!
Which leads me to the topic of redistricting. This year, in 2021, we have a once-a-decade opportunity to have a powerful political impact. We have an opportunity to attend our congressional district’s redistricting meetings and participate in the conversation about exactly where the district boundary should be drawn.
Redistricting is a boundary adjustment that accounts for demographic changes in our communities. Every 10 years, after the federal government publishes updated census information, Washington redraws the boundaries of its congressional and state legislative electoral districts to ensure that each district represents an equal number of residents.
The Washington State Redistricting Commission consists of four voting members — two Democrats and two Republicans — picked by the leaders of the Democratic and Republican caucuses in the state House and Senate. A fifth, nonvoting chairperson is then picked by the voting members.
The Commission must draw the district lines in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Washingtonians.
The commission has until Nov. 15th, 2021 to draw up new political boundaries for the congressional and legislative districts using 2020 Census data. At least three of four members must agree to the maps. The Legislature can make only minor changes to the commission maps and the governor has no role.
You can attend the Redistricting meetings for your congressional district! In the past, conservatives have failed to show up and participate in these meetings. As a result, we don’t get much of a say in the final district boundaries. It’s time for us to show up, and weigh in on where our congressional and legislative districts should be. Public participation is important in helping the Commission better understand district boundaries that may divide communities.
To participate, please visit www.redistricting.wa.gov/commission-meetings and click on the button “Public Outreach Meetings”. If you don’t know which district you live in, there’s a “Find My District” button. When you know your district, please look for the next scheduled public outreach meeting. Be sure to click the “Register for Public Comment” button. You may want to make a public comment, if you hear something during the meeting that you’d like to respond to.
For example, one idea tossed out at a previous meeting is that the Colville Reservation should be in ONE Congressional District rather than split across the 4th and the 5th Congressional Districts. This suggestion would likely result in a Democratic-majority district in the heart of eastern Washington. Do you have thoughts about that? I know I do!
By clicking “Register for Public Comment”, you reserve the opportunity to make your voice heard and your voice matters. By attending AND commenting, you have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to impact our state and national elections for the next ten years.
Don’t just sit there and wring your hands. The time for action is now. You do get an additional “vote” when you participate in local and state politics. We need your help to Save America. I’ll see you online at the redistricting meeting!
Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.