Voters within the Yakama Tribal Reservation may be unified in a single legislative district, according to proposed legislative boundaries announced last week.
The tribal reservation is currently divided between the 14th and 15th legislative districts. Each of the proposals shows a single legislative district encapsulating the reservation, with varying levels of crossover into Klickitat County.
The entirety of Klickitat County is currently represented by the 14th Legislative District. Under the draft redistricting maps, county residents’ representation would remain virtually unchanged, save for the proposal by Commissioner April Sims.
Sims’ map shows a separation between Klickitat County and its tribal and county neighbors to the north. According to her map, released on the redistricting commission website, the proposed district encapsulating the reservation’s boundaries also includes Tract D, an area within the Yakama Nation boundaries which is being contested by the county in a bid to secure jurisdiction.
The process to redraw congressional districts occurs once every 10 years in Washington state. Four voting commissioners, two of each appointed by opposing party leaders, released the proposed boundary maps as a starting point for negotiations, which will come to end by the Nov. 15 deadline to vote on a final map.
The commissioners are: Sims, Democrat; Paul Graves, Republican; Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, Democrat; and Joe Fain, Republican.
A full outline of the draft boundaries are available online.
Under state law, districts must be made as equal in population as possible and “aren’t supposed to be gerrymandered for partisan advantage or discriminate against any group,” the commission website says.
Congressional district maps will be released this week.