Redistricting

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Washington State's Legislative and Congressional district boundaries are redrawn every 10 years following the United States Census. The Office of the Secretary of State helps the U.S. Census Bureau prepare for the census. It also assists the Washington State Redistricting Commission prepare for redistricting, the process of adjusting district boundaries to reflect changes in population.

The Redistricting Program was formed in the Office of the Secretary of State in summer 2007 and transferred to the Legislature in summer 2010. The Redistricting Program provides detailed maps and data of all 6,600 voting precincts in Washington to the U.S. Census Bureau to facilitate a more accurate census. The Census Bureau uses these precinct lines to compile the population and demographic data gathered in the 2010 Census for each precinct in the state.

The Redistricting Program assembled election-related data by voting precinct for most state ballot measures, and statewide, congressional, and legislative races from 2004 to current day. Because precinct boundaries change over time, the Redistricting Program must also reproduce the precinct boundaries that correspond to past election cycles. This is to ensure the geographic shape of each precinct matches the electoral results for that precinct. This data will be used by the Washington State Redistricting Commission to redraw the state's legislative and congressional district boundaries in 2011.

Redistricting responsibilities transferred to the Washington State Redistricting Commission in January 2011. The Washington State Redistricting Commission is appointed by the Legislature and made up of four voting members and a nonvoting chair.

The Redistricting Commission must present new Legislative and Congressional District boundaries to the Legislature for approval during the 2012 legislative session. The new boundaries will be in effect for the 2012 elections and thereafter. When redistricting is completed, the commission's duties are complete and it disbands. In 2021, a new commission will be appointed to ensure that Washington residents are fairly represented in congress and the state legislature.