Census information

Asa Washines sharing census awareness information at the Tribal Agency in Toppenish, signing pledge cards to support the legislative ask for $15M to support the 2020 Census. 

Here’s why everybody kept telling you to fill out your census.

Now that the federal government’s official 2020 head count is complete, it’s time to revisit Washington’s legislative district maps. It’s something the state does every 10 years, right after the census numbers get sorted out.

The idea is to make sure that each of the state’s 49 legislative districts — all of which get one senator and two representatives in Olympia — and 10 congressional districts are as reflective as possible of the people who live in those districts.

The process starts with the bipartisan Washington State Redistricting Commission, which includes two members picked by leaders of the state’s Democratic and Republican caucuses. Those four members then choose a non-voting chairperson to oversee their proceedings.

This week — doing their best to leave about 157,000 people in each district, not split cities, not discriminate and be nonpartisan — the four voting committee members released their own individual ideas for how districts could be redrawn.

So far, perhaps the biggest news there is that whatever the new map ends up being, it’s likely that the Yakama Nation won’t be split into separate districts anymore. The city of Yakima, however, looks to remain divided.

After what we’ve seen recently in other states — where bare-knuckled partisanship trumps ethics and shoves aside opposition — we should all appreciate Washington’s commitment to democratic elections.

And that commitment starts with making sure everybody — regardless of race, creed or voting district — gets a say in who represents them.

The Redistricting Commission has until midnight Nov. 15 to agree on a redrawn state legislative map and redrawn congressional district lines. Then it goes to the Legislature, which has 30 days to approve or amend the plan.

Meantime, they’re open to suggestions.

You can send them your thoughts on their website, redistricting.wa.gov/commission-meetings — or feel free to try your hand at drawing your own map at redistricting.wa.gov/participate/draw-your-wa.

And put it on your calendars now: For heaven’s sake, fill out your 2030 census.