Shifting Boundaries
Redistricting Home
1965 1971
Introduction Pre-1950 The 1950s The 1960s The 1970s The 1980s The 1990s 2000 and Beyond
Photo of R.R. 'Bob' Greive The 1970s
Major Years:1971, 1972; Major Players:The Legislature, The Courts, Independent Consultant or Master

Redistricting in the 1970s initially followed a path that was similar to the 1960s, marked by party infighting and legal challenges. In May of 1971, the Legislature adjourned without passing a redistricting bill. In July of that year, a lawsuit, Prince v. Kramer, et. al., was filed in the U.S. District Court to force the Legislature to redistrict. After reviewing the case, the court declared the 1965 redistricting measure unconstitutional and ordered that the state hold no further elections under that law.

In September of 1971, the justices gave the Legislature a mandate: redistrict by February 25, 1972, or the court would take over. Unlike the 1965 session, however, the legislators in 1972 were unable to compromise. February came and went, and there was no redistricting plan.

True to its word, the court proceeded with redistricting. The justices chose University of Washington geography professor Richard Morrill as the master and gave him the task of redrawing the state's legislative and congressional boundaries. Morrill, who did not follow the practice of the legislators and use political data or the location of incumbents to develop his proposal, finished in the allotted one month. In April 1972, the U.S. District Court redistricted the state based on Morrill's plan, setting an important new precedent.


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Read R.R. 'Bob' Greive: An Oral History

1965 1971