Redistricting - How the Commission Works

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The four Republican and Democratic legislative caucus leaders each appoint one member to the commission, and these four elect a non-voting chair. The State Supreme Court appoints members if the leaders fail to do so, or if the four voting members cannot agree on a chair. In January 2011, the four caucuses of the Legislature appointed the following individuals as commissioners:

Senate Republican Caucus: Slade Gorton
Senate Democratic Caucus: Tim Ceis
House Republican Caucus: Tom Huff
House Democratic Caucus: Dean Foster

The four caucus-appointed commissioners then selected Dr. Lura J. Powell of Richland to serve as the non-voting chair of the commission.

The Commission holds public hearings across the state and draws district boundaries for legislative and congressional districts, obeying an extensive set of criteria. It reports this plan to the Legislature, which can only amend the plan by a two-thirds vote of each house, and changing no more than two percent of any district’s population. The Governor cannot veto the plan. The Legislature cannot conduct redistricting on its own outside of the Commission process.

Rules for redistricting the 10 congressional districts and the 49 legislative districts:

  • Districts shall have nearly equal population;
  • District lines should coincide with local political subdivisions (such as city and county lines) and “communities of interest”;
  • Districts should be convenient, contiguous (share a common land border or transportation route), and compact;
  • Districts must not favor or discriminate against one political party or group;
  • District divisions should encourage electoral competition.