Washington Redistricting Process

Congressional and Legislative

The Washington State Redistricting Commission draws the congressional and state legislative districts. It is a five-member Commission. The four legislative leaders each name one member by January 15 of each year ending in one. By January 31 of the same year, the four original members appoint a fifth by majority vote. The fifth member is the chairperson and does not get a vote. If any of those authorities fail to make a timely appointment, the state supreme court shall make an appointment within five days of the date of the original deadline. Commissioners cannot be an elected official or person in an elected legislative, county, or state political party office, and cannot have been in any of those roles during the two years prior to their appointment.

Apportionment is completed by the Washington State Redistricting Commission on or before January 1 of years ending in two. Maps are passed by a simple majority. Should this not be accomplished in time, the State Supreme Court must draw a map by April 30 of the following year. The Legislature can alter the plan by a two-thirds vote of the legislators in each chamber.

Challenges to the maps are litigated in the State Supreme Court.

Source: Wash. Const. art. II, § 43.

Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Direct and indirect initiatives and referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Initiatives are not permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.

Single-Subject Rule
There is a single-subject rule.

Initiative Subject Restrictions
Initiative subjects cannot grant divorce or give extra compensation to public employees.

Signature Requirements
The signature requirement for statutory initiatives is 8% of all votes cast for all candidates for governor in the previous gubernatorial election, and 4% for a veto referendum. 4,056,454 people voted for a candidate for governor in the 2020 General Election in Washington, so 324,517 signatures are required for statutory initiatives, and 162,259 signatures are required for a veto referendum.

Submission Deadlines
Direct initiatives must be submitted no less than 4 months prior to the election in which it is to be on the ballot (July 8, 2022). Indirect statutes must be submitted no less than ten days prior to the convening of the regular session of the Legislature (December 31, 2021). Referendums must be submitted within 90 days after the end of the legislative session.

Circulation Period
The circulation period for direct initiatives is six months minus ten days and for indirect initiatives, it is ten months. These numbers are based on initial filing dates and submission date, as no formal circulation period is specifically given.

Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the proponents and certified by the Secretary of State. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are permitted.

Other Requirements
A fiscal impact statement is required. Measures permitting gambling or a lottery would require a 60% supermajority. For two years after the approval of a statutory initiative by the people, the Legislature can only amend or repeal it through a two-thirds supermajority vote in both legislative chambers. Measures amended in this way cannot be targeted by referendums. Referendums cannot target emergency laws or laws necessary for the support of the state government and its existing public institutions. Initiatives are permitted on general election ballots, but not on primary, special, or odd-year election ballots.

Source: Wash. Const. art. II. Wash. Rev. Code, § 29A.72 (2019). Washington Secretary of State Elections Website

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