The Washington State Constitution mandated reapportionment every ten years, but
legislators had repeatedly dragged their feet or blocked proposals after waging highly
partisan battles. When more than two decades passed with no substantial change, members
of the League of Women Voters decided to focus on methods of resolving the stalemate.
They formed a study group and published a pamphlet on redistricting in 1954.
The League initially supported a proposal made by State Senator Wilbur Hallauer, who
wanted to transfer apportionment power to a special redistricting commission. Hallauer
advocated an initiative to the Legislature as a means of establishing the new commission,
but questions quickly arose about the constitutionality of this unusual procedure.
The Legislative Council stepped in and passed a resolution that created a bipartisan
committee to carry out reapportionment, but this approach also failed. The League of
Women Voters then decided it was time to develop its own redistricting initiative.