“That’s not necessarily bad; it’s just different constituents,” Harris said. “If these maps stand, it will be a great district for me.”
The Vancouver lawmaker said he had hoped to see a better mix of political parties in every district.
“The 49th is still very Democrat. I think the 17th and 18th are still Republican. I would have liked a little more competitiveness in all the districts,” Harris said. “I don’t think that was accomplished.”
It wasn’t just state lawmakers paying attention to the redistricting process. During the Clark County Council’s meeting Wednesday, senior policy analyst Lindsay Shafar explained the latest outcome to the council.
“They voted on it, but because of all of the data that would need to go into place to make all of those changes, the maps weren’t prepared. And because the maps weren’t finalized, the vote they took wasn’t on a final map because they hadn’t been created yet,” Shafar told the council.
Shafar also gave an overview of the changes to the council, noting that under the new maps, District 18 would include Felida, Salmon Creek and Battle Ground. She also noted that the 20th District would come considerably south into Clark County to include La Center, Ridgefield, Yacolt, Amboy and areas at the north end of the county.
“That’s kind of sad there was no flexibility,” said Councilor Gary Medvigy. “Because of all the data being so late, and because of the pandemic, we’re going to run into that locally as well.”
Clark County is also redrawing its district map; the process already has been delayed — in part — because Census data wasn’t available.
“There’s just too much time pressure,” Medvigy said. “It’s sad they didn’t just let it play out, give them one more day.”
Shafar said it would have required a state constitutional amendment to allow the redistricting commission more time. She noted that Medvigy wasn’t alone in those sentiments and the Legislature may look to put an amendment before voters soon.
“We conducted an unprecedented public outreach program. We heard from thousands of Washingtonians, consulted extensively with tribal partners, and ultimately drew maps that are fair and reflect the agreement of the voting commissioners,” Graves said in a statement.
He said the commissioners had reached agreement before the deadline but were unable to make agreed-upon changes to the maps in time.
“That is a deep disappointment,” Graves said.
Despite the technical challenges, he said he supports the maps the commission produced and also recommended that the Supreme Court approve them.
“They are fair, they reflect the agreement of the four voting commissioners, and they will serve well the people of Washington,” Graves said.
The state redistricting process should have been smoother, he said.
“I believe strongly in open government. … So I am more than disappointed that the chaos Monday evening led to a lack of transparency and open deliberation,” Graves added. “We did not live up to the standard for open government that the commission promised, that I expect from my government, and that the people deserve.”