The state of Washington is in the early phases of the redistricting process, determining how state and congressional districts will be altered following the 2020 census. Washington senate minority leader John Braun said while many see redistricting as an issue for the more populated parts of the state, he said it’s important that the rural community is involved when districts are modified. He added active involvement works to ensure the urban presence does not drown out the rural influence.
“Some people think of Washington as a blue state, I still like to think of it as a purple state, but there are a lot of folks, especially in rural areas that are feeling left out and I think we’ve got to be very careful that we don’t create new districts that make that problem worse. We need to make it better, not worse. Bring us together, not divide us more.”
An issue that typically comes up with redistricting, regardless of the party in power, is jerrymandering, drawing borders to ensure a district remains red or blue. Braun said Washington is unique. The state uses a commission comprised of two representative from the Republican side, and two from the Democrat side.
“By its very nature, it’s a bipartisan process, I think that’s a good thing for the state of Washington. And of course people ask what happens if they can’t agree, in that case it goes to the Supreme Court, and I think we all have some concerns about that. But there’s a lot of incentives for that not to happen, so both sides are motivated to come to an agreement that everyone can live with.”
Braun added with many COVID protocols still in place, many of these redistricting meetings will take place virtually, which he said may make it easier for rural Washingtonians to participate. Saturday, the state’s 4th and 1st Districts will be discussed. Districts 3, 2, 10, 9 and 8 will be discusses throughout the rest of the month.
Click Here to participate in any of the redistricting meetings.
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