State's redistricting plans to meet public

The state's work to redraw voting districts as a result of population growth is headed toward fruition.

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WALLA WALLA -- The shape of things to come, politically speaking, will be unveiled Tuesday.

The Washington State Redistricting Commission will put the first drafts of plans to redraw the state's voting districts out for public view. The commission's work will redraw the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts to equalize their populations.

Another major task for the five-member group will be creation of a new 10th Congressional District. Because of population growth, Washington is slated to gain another seat in Congress and the new district will have to be formed by reapportioning the populations in the current nine districts to form the new one.

The draft plans will be debuted in Olympia at the commission's meeting, which will begin at 10 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1 of the Cherberg Building in the capitol. The meeting will be webcast and broadcast live by TVW, the state's public-affairs network.

The unveiling of the plans will mark the opening of the public comment period to collect reactions to the draft plans. The commission will take comment on the draft plans through Oct. 11.

Large-format versions of the plans will be posted on the commission's website by 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The commission has set a goal of early November for release of the final redistricting plans.

The commission has the rest of this year to set the new lines for the 10 congressional districts and the state's 49 legislative districts.

Earlier this year, commissioners held a series of public forums to hear from people about where the new lines should be drawn. Walla Walla was the site of one of those forums in mid-July.

In a release, Luna said commissioners have heard from "hundreds of people who gave us very thoughtful and useful feedback.

"It impressed me to see the time and effort many have taken to inform their opinions about redrawing district lines in their communities. This input is important to the work of the commission as we develop new congressional and legislative district boundaries," she said.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

On the net

Washington State Redistricting Commission: redistricting.wa.gov

Redistricting background

The Constitution requires all states to evaluate electoral district boundaries every 10 years following the U.S. Census. The state redistricting commission was established by Washington state voters in 1983 to ensure district boundaries are redrawn through a fair and bipartisan process.

The commission is composed of two Democratic Party members and two Republican Party members as voting members and a non-voting bipartisan chair.

Commission members are Chairwoman Luna Powell Commission, former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton as the Senate Republican appointee, Tim Ceis as the Senate Democratic Party appointee, Dean Foster as the House Democratic Party appointee and Tom Huff as the House Republican appointee.

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