Redrawing Voter Maps
OneAmerica members helped create history!
After eight months of organizing and advocating, our communities got a huge victory when the Washington State Redistricting Commission finazlied new voting maps on January 1, 2012. The bipartison commission voted unanimously in support of maps that include Washington State's first majority-minority congressional district and four majority-minority legislative districts – the 15th in Yakima County and the 11th, 33rd and 37th in south King County. The new 9th Congressional District is just over one half minority at 50.3% and encompasses Southeast Seattle, Bellevue, North Tacoma and South King County. The 15th Legislative District will serve an unprecedented 54.6% Latino majority population. See the final maps here.
These new districts - which will define voting boundaries for the next decade - clearly reflect the work that immigrant communities and communities of color put in over the last several months. OneAmerica joined with the United for Fair Representation coalition in early 2011 to create Unity Maps and turned out hundreds of immigrants and people of color who testified at nearly every redistricting hearing. The final maps respond to the reality that people of color now represent 1 out of 4 Washington residents and that the increase in these communities helped land Washington an additional congressional district.
Given the continued growth of people of color and immigrants - especially in King and Yakima counties - minority representation in these majority-minority districts will only increase over the coming years, further strengthening the voice of immigrant communities and communities of color. Read OneAmerica's January 2 news release for more details.
Few political insiders and reporters thought we would win these districts when the long process began last spring. Usually these partisan redistricting processes are marked by backroom deals and favor trading. Our state's commission, however, proved that they could listen and respond to public input as well as political advisors.
And thanks to hundreds of OneAmerica members across the state who provided testimony, wrote emails to Commissioners, and shared their stories with media - in addition to the vital coalition work done by United for Fair Representation - we were heard!
Every ten years, based on population changes from the recent Census, a small group of partisan commissioners redraws the maps that make up voting districts across Washington State. Who is elected to represent you has a lot to do with the community of voters you share a district with - city, county, legislative, and congressional.
Nationwide, immigration accounted for 40 percent of the population growth in the last decade. Here in Washington State, the Hispanic population grew by an impressive 71 percent, while Asian Americans represented the next fastest growth at 50 percent. In other words, our communities had a lot to say about gaining additional representation in Washington, D.C.!
We've been partnering with United for Fair Representation (a coalition comprised of leaders and organizations serving communities of color across Washington State including the Win-Win Network, One America, Latino Community Fund, Tacoma Black Collective, Asian Pacific Americans for Civic Empowerment and more) to advocate for several majority-minority legislative districts and a new Congressional district in South King County that is also majority people of color. These majority-minority districts will lead to increased civic participation among immigrants and communities of color and help ensure that they have equal and fair representation.
United for Fair Representation has released a series of maps that outline what the proposed majority-minority districts would look like. Below is a sample (click to see a larger version):
Yakima County Legislative District:
One America has been active in bringing people to testify at the vast majority of public forums hosted by the redistricting commission. The last of the public forums occured August 9th, where OneAmerica and its allies turned out over half of the 150+ people who attended. A wide array of supporters, ranging from youth, to new citizens, long-time residents, executive directors of nonprofits, and union members urged commissioners to adopt the Unity Map (shown above).
On September 13th , each of the four members of the Washington State Redistricting Commission released their proposed maps. Three of the four maps included at least one majority-minority congressional district, placing it in south King County, and creating a Hispanic majority-minority legislative district in eastern Washington.
The public has until October 11th to comment on the maps, after which the commission will have until the end of 2011 to work out one final map. The fight isn't over just yet. Submit your comments on the maps to the WA State Redistricting Commission here to urge your commissioners to stick to the maps that will give immigrants and communities of color the voting power they deserve.
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Follow the Action
View the final district maps as passed by the Washington State Redistricting Commission on January 1, 2012.
Watch testimony from the final Commssion public hearing.
Read a guest editorial in the Seattle Times by Pramila Jayapal and George Cheung.
Check out photos of our members and supporters from the final August 9th hearing in New Holly!
Our Proposed Maps: