Evan Smith: Time for single-member legislative districts

Sunday, January 31, 2010


After this year’s census, Washington and every other state will have to redraw the boundaries for its legislative and congressional districts.

A bipartisan commission will meet next year to draw lines to create “substantially equal” districts, in line with U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

Before the commission starts poring over census data, let’s change the law under which they draw legislative districts.

Now, we divide the State into 49 legislative districts, each with one senator and two representatives.

Instead, let’s continue to give each of the 49 districts one senator but let’s divide each of those districts into two representative districts
That way, each senator would represent one forty-ninth of the State and each member of the House of Representatives would represent one ninety-eighth of the State.

Under current population estimates, each senator would represent about 136,000 people and each House member would represent about 68,000 people.

This would be particularly important in Northeast Washington, where one senator and two House members represent three counties.

With House members representing fewer people, they would be closer to the voters, and candidates would have to campaign in a smaller area at lower costs. Now, senators and House members represent the same people. With single-member House districts, they would represent different constituencies.


Anonymous,  February 1, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

Good idea Evan. Thanks for your creative thinking!
Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-32

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