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Washington Supreme Court declines to draw new redistricting plan

Washington's redistricting commission missed its deadline to draw new Legislative and Congressional maps, but the Supreme Court won't change the panel's plan.

Editor's note: The above video on reactions to redistricting proposals originally aired Oct. 11, 2021.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Supreme Court on Friday says that a plan adopted by the Washington Redistricting Commission “substantially complied” with statutory deadlines, and declined to adopt a new redistricting plan for the state.

The five-page order was signed by all nine justices.

The Redistricting Commission reached a consensus on a mapping plan Nov. 16, although it failed to meet its deadline of Nov. 15 at 11:59 p.m. Since it didn't come up with a plan in time, the task then went to the Washington State Supreme Court.

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See the commission's approved Congressional District map here and the commission's approved Legislative District map here.

The Redistricting Commission consisted of four voting members — two Democrats and two Republicans — appointed by legislative caucus leaders. The Democratic appointees were former legislator Brady Piñero Walkinshaw and state labor-council leader April Sims; Republican commissioners were former state legislators Joe Fain and Paul Graves. 

By law, at least three of the four had to agree on new political maps by Nov. 15.

This is the first time the panel has failed to finish its work on time since the state adopted a constitutional amendment giving redistricting authority to a bipartisan commission after the 1990 census.

In a letter to the Supreme Court, the commission said its members couldn't reach an agreement on time due to the late release of the 2020 Census data, a shorter submission deadline and technical challenges. 

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