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Redistricting is an opportunity to build BIPOC voting power, organizers say

By October 27, 2021October 29th, 2021News

For more on the fight for fair districts for communities of color, check out our partner organization, Redistricting Justice for Washington.

SOUTH SEATTLE EMERALD

Every 10 years, officials undertake a great political balancing act that profoundly — but almost invisibly — determines the value of your voice in democracy. By redrawing voting districts at the state and local levels, they set boundaries that will influence elections for the next decade.

The process, known as redistricting, is fundamental to the idea of representation in politics. How lines are drawn determines who votes in a given district, which in turn determines which candidates get elected, what laws are passed, and how public money is spent.

Civil rights groups see the setback as an opportunity. The organization Redistricting Justice for Washington (RJW), which consists of more than two dozen community groups and nonprofits, wants the commission to draw more districts where People of Color make up a majority of eligible voters. South King County and Yakima are among the group’s key focus areas.

“We see that Washington State is roughly 35% People of Color,” said Andrew Hong, the group’s codirector, who grew up in Columbia City and now attends Stanford University. “So by proportionality, 35% of state legislators and congresspeople should be elected by Communities of Color.”

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