Congressional, state legislative and county council districts are based on population, and every district in a state must be roughly equal in population.
The US Constitution requires that states redraw their Congressional district boundaries every 10 years based on information from the US Census. Because the population of Washington State has grown so much, our state is getting a new Congressional district this year.
The recent Census in 2010 showed that people of color now make up 27% of our state’s population, with higher concentrations in King County (35%) and Yakima County (52%). With over one-quarter of the state’s population identifying themselves as people of color, and with the requirement that Washington draw an entirely new Congressional district, we now have an opportunity to create a Congressional district that includes a majority of people of color. There is also opportunity in King County to draw thee legislative districts in King County that are a majority of people of color.
The benefits of POC majority districts are:
- Increased civic engagement and participation of underrepresented communities
- Elected representation that is genuinely accountable to constituents
- Elected representation that reflects the diversity of the community.
Many new citizens, second generation citizens and other people of color come from countries that do not have our democratic traditions, and we have an opportunity to set an example by encouraging democratic participation. When people can see that their representatives are accountable, and feel that their vote truly counts they are more likely to participate in all aspects of civic life.