Each county, city, and special purpose district that elects its governing body based on internal director, council, or commissioner districts must draw district boundaries based on population data collected at each federal decennial census. Each district must:
Local redistricting plans may not be drawn to purposely favor or discriminate against any political party or racial group. To the extent reasonable, district boundaries must coincide with natural boundaries and preserve communities of interest.
Counting Persons in Government Custody.
The federal decennial census counts people at their usual residence, which is defined as the place where they live and sleep most of the time. The Census Bureau rules specify that certain people in custody on Census Day are counted as follows:
For purposes of drawing state and congressional districts in Washington, the Redistricting Commission counts each person incarcerated in a state adult correctional facility, placed in a juvenile justice facility, or committed to receive involuntary behavioral health treatment as residing at his or her last known place of residence, rather than at the institution of confinement. This includes people who are transferred to a facility outside of Washington. The last known place of residence is the address at which the inmate was last domiciled prior to the current term of incarceration, as reported by the inmate or resident. An inmate or resident in state custody in Washington whose last known place of residence was either outside of Washington or cannot be determined is deemed to live at the location of the facility in which the inmate or resident is incarcerated, placed, or committed.
There is no similar provision for such persons with regard to local redistricting.
Each unit of local government that conducts redistricting must use federal decennial census populations as adjusted by the Redistricting Commission to count each person in state custody as residing at the person's last known place of residence, rather than at an adult correctional, juvenile justice, or involuntary behavioral health commitment facility.
(In support) Prison gerrymandering has allowed certain districts to capitalize on the increasing incarceration of people of color, which steals the people's voices to the detriment of their communities. This bill is necessary because of the over-policing of people of color. The bill gives their votes back to marginalized communities and results in a more fair electoral process.