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The 1980s: 1982

Initial Legislation of Redistricting Commission

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a new redistricting measure in February 1982, addressing the congressional district boundaries vetoed by Governor Spellman after the 1981 session. Spellman signed the bill, but its contents angered some citizens of Everett, who objected to the inclusion of the city in the Seattle-dominated First Congressional District. Pegy Doph and other Everett voters and city officials filed suit in United States District Court to block implementation of the new redistricting plan. In Doph v. Munro they argued that the boundaries established in the 1982 legislation unfairly divided counties and cultures.

Ralph Munro photo Ralph Munro
Secretary of State, 1981-2000

The ongoing controversies had caused some weary legislators to seek other methods of handling future redistricting efforts. A section of the 1982 bill established an independent and bipartisan redistricting commission. The commissioners would develop both a legislative and congressional reapportionment plans, but the Legislature retained final approval over their decisions. The new redistricting body would not begin its work until 1991 after the government announced the next decennial census figures.

These plans were jeopardized when the court handed down its opinion in the Doph v. Munro case. The three judges went beyond what the plaintiffs had asked and declared the entire redistricting bill unconstitutional. District Court Judges Walter McGovern and Jack Tanner and U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Otto Skopil, Jr., ruled that the population variations in the congressional districts violated the one man, one vote provisions of the State Constitution. The panel gave the Legislature ninety days from the beginning of the 1963 session to adopt a suitable plan.


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