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Washington Legislative Reapportionment and Redistricting, Initiative 211 (1962)

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The Washington Legislature Reapportionment and Redistricting Initiativem also known as Initiative 211, was on the November 6, 1962 ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the People, where it was defeated. The measure would have reapportioned and redistricted the state legislature.[1]

Election results

Washington Initiative 211 (1962)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No441,08552.67%
Yes 396,419 47.33%

Election results via: Washington Secretary of State

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

AN ACT Relating to the State Legislature and legislative districts; defining the boundaries of all state legislative districts; changing the boundaries and population of most districts; renumbering some districts; providing for the number of legislators and their allocation to such legislative districts; and repealing existing legislative apportionment and districting laws in conflict therewith.

Support

Arguments

The following reasons were given in support of Initiative 211 in the Washington 1962 Voters' Guide:[1]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

INITIATIVE 211 WILL MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT

It will give all Washington voters the representation to which they are entitled in our state legislature. The state constitution says that districts should be approximately equal in population. They now range from 20,023 to 145,180. If Initiative 211 passes, all voters in the cities, in the suburbs and in the rural areas will be equally represented.

How Does the Present Unequal Representation Affect the Average Citizen? Today some Washingtonians have only one-seventh the voting power of others. This means that some voters have much more influence in making laws and electing lawmakers than others. This is contrary to the American tradition as well as to our state constitution and must be corrected.

Why Does Redistricting Need to Be Done by Initiative? The constitution requires the legislature to redistrict after every ten-year federal census but the legislators have not been able to agree on a plan. Since 1900 they have never redistricted except after an Initiative.

Is Equal Representation a Problem In Other States? Yes. The United States Supreme Court, in a recent historic decision, affirmed the right of ALL citizens to fair representation in state government. All over the country, urban and suburban residents are demanding and getting more equal representation.

Who Wrote Initiative 211? The League of Women Voters of Washington, a nonpartisan organization working with appointed representatives of the Democratic and Republican parties, drafted this measure as a service to the people of Washington state.

Every Citizen Will Be Represented But No County Will Have a Maiority in the Legislature.

INITIATIVE 211 IS CONSTITUTIONAL - NON-PARTISAN - FAIR

The arguments in favor of Initiative 211 were prepared by:[1]

  • Mrs. Herald D. Pearson, President, League of Women Voters
  • Joseph Drumheller, Chairman, Committee for Redistricting
  • Goodwin Chase, Co-Chairman, Committee for Redistricting, National Bank of Washington

Opposition

Arguments

The following reasons were given in opposition to Initiative 211 in the Washington 1962 Voters' Guide:[2]

This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.

OFFICIAL ARGUMENT AGAINST INITIATIVE MEASURE NO. 211

1. Initiative 211 violates the fundamental American principle of direct representative government.

2. 211 rearranges district boundaries without due regard to geographic, economic, and social consideration for the needs of people affected.

3. 211 may deny the right of direct representation to 18 of our 39 counties.

THIS CONSTITUTES TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION

4. One county already has 30% of both houses of the Legislature. 211 would increase this lopsided representation. Historically, lopsided government has been bad government for all.

5. Washington's comparative position on representation in State Legislatures is one of the best. 211 does not improve it.

6. It requires an amendment to our State Constitution to improve direct representation according to this accepted American principle of government.

7. Legislative apportionment as done by Initiative 211 is government without representation.

The arguments against Initiative 211 were prepared by:[2]

  • Benton B. Bangs, Vice-President, Washington State Association of County Commissioners
  • A. Lars Nelson, Master, Washington State Grange
  • Dale Nordquist (R-20)

Path to the ballot

Initiative 211 was filed on January 8, 1962 by the League of Women Voters of Washington. Signatures were submitted to qualify it for the ballot. The measure was placed on the ballot as provided for by the state constitution.[3]

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See also

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