Council President M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), Chair of the Governance & Education Committee, announced the beginning of the application process for Seattle’s first-ever Districting Commission appointments.
The City is obligated by the City Charter and Washington State law to develop new City Council district boundaries in response to the population data generated from the 2020 federal census. As the result of the 2013 City Charter Amendment, the method for electing City Councilmembers was amended to establish seven (7) geographically-based districts, eliminating the previous model in which all nine (9) City Councilmembers were at-large representatives.
The City Council is seeking qualified applicants to serve on the 2021 Seattle Districting Commission. The Commission’s responsibilities will include: hiring a District Master, organizing and facilitating public forums to solicit community input from across the City, developing a draft districting proposal, and ultimately approving a districting plan to be submitted to the City Clerk and State of Washington.
“A fair and equitable redistricting process is critical to upholding our democratic principles and government institutions,” Gonzalez said. “Our electoral districts must accurately reflect our changing population and demographics, so our communities have fair and equal representation from their elected officials.”
The Districting Commission will be comprised of five members, and will be tasked with overseeing the development of new City Council district lines in response to the completed 2020 Census:
- Two commissioners will be appointed by the City Council, confirmed via a two-thirds vote of the Council
- Two commissioners will be appointed by the Mayor
- One commissioner will be appointed by the initial four members of the Commission, approved via a majority vote
“Within eight months after local governments receive Census data from the state (or a later date as provided for by applicable law), the Commission will develop and make public a districts proposal,” said Monica Martinez Simmons, City Clerk. “After the draft proposal is released, the Commission will seek public comment. Thereafter, the Commission will consider approval of the final districts plan.”
Applications for the two Council-appointed positions on the Districting Commission are due by 11:59 P.M. on Monday, March 29, 2021, and confirmation of the appointments will occur in May 2021. Commissioners will receive per diem compensation during the term of the Commission, which may last roughly 9-12 months from the date of appointment.
Interested individuals can submit their candidacy for consideration by completing this online application form. Select “Districting Commission” under “Which Boards would you like to apply for?” For questions related to the application form you may contact Thao Madsen (Thao.Madsen@seattle.gov), Boards and Commissions Program Manager, Office of City Clerk.