WA Redistricting: Communities of Color Push for Fair Representation
Friday, October 8, 2021
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- As the Washington State Redistricting Commission considers drawing new lines for voting districts, a coalition of groups is urging greater representation for people of color.
Kamau Chege, director of the Washington Community Alliance, which is part of the coalition Redistricting Justice for Washington.
Chege noted people of color make up about one-third of the state's population. However, as the maps are currently drawn, they are the majority in only one of the state's ten congressional districts, and only 2% of state legislative districts.
"They really amplify the power of the white electorate much more than what is proportional to their population," Chege asserted. "And they really disempower voters of color and communities of color."
The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a public meeting this week with four proposed maps for state legislative districts. It holds a public meeting on its four proposed congressional district maps on Saturday. The public can submit comments while the commission makes its decisions.
The Redistricting Justice for Washington coalition has proposed one congressional map and five state legislative maps. Chege emphasized a major focus for the coalition is Yakima County, where a district line cuts through the Yakama reservation.
"Which in 2010 was split between the 14th and 15th legislative district," Chege noted. "Which meant that the power of their votes were diluted, since they're not able to vote in concert and organize with the rest of the Yakama Nation."
The coalition argued the previous district map, in 2010, also divided and diluted Latino voters in Yakima County.
Chege added the U.S. system for redistricting is different from many other countries.
"Most industrialized countries have a system of proportional representation," Chege observed. "Where if you're 30% of the population, you're able to win 30% of the seats, and that's something that everybody understands."
The commission's deadline to release its final maps is Nov. 15.
get more stories like this via email
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nearly seven in ten Americans say billionaires are not paying their fair share in taxes, according to a new survey. Among likely …
BISMARCK, N.D. -- Over the coming weeks, North Dakotans will be clicking the "purchase" button as they order holiday gifts online, and fraud experts …
MINNEAPOLIS -- Several regional labor groups rallied in Minneapolis on Wednesday, demanding state leaders take action to reflect the sacrifices made …
GREENE, Iowa -- The proposed Build Back Better bill is getting attention for a host of funding possibilities, including one area flying under the …
OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Michiganders are mourning the loss of four students after this week's school shooting at Oxford High School, and advocates …
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Labor protests and strikes are on the upswing this fall, compared with 2020 when everyone hunkered as the pandemic closed …
CONCORD, N.H. -- With the holiday shopping season under way, experts are urging Granite Staters to watch out for scammers. A survey from AARP found …
EVERETT, Wash. -- After community pushback, Everett Community College has paused plans to close its Early Learning Center, which has provided child-…