Redrawing Seattle’s seven City Council districts: What do you think the maps should look like?

You’ve probably heard a lot about redistricting – drawing new boundaries for election districts – for the county, state, and federal governments. But you probably haven’t heard much about the fact the city has to do the same thing (we mentioned it back in October). Before the Seattle City Council‘s seven district seats are up for election again next year, new boundaries will be approved. An appointed commission (with two West Seattleites) is overseeing this process and has released four draft maps as potential starting points. Here’s how these drafts would reshape District 1, which currently encompasses West Seattle and South Park.

First, D-1 on draft map 1 (see this full citywide map here)

Next, D-1 on draft map 2 (see this full citywide map here):

Next, D-1 on draft map 3 (see this full citywide map here):

And finally, D-1 on draft map 4 (see this full citywide map here):

Follow the “full map” links to get a closer look; if you zoom in, you’ll see the current boundaries, for comparison. And keep in mind, these are proposed as starting points – this isn’t a contest between those four; the final map may be something completely different.

So what’s being taken into consideration here? you might wonder. The commission explains that it’s charged with following “City Charter-mandated criteria using geographic information system (GIS) expertise and the latest 2020 Census data to draw new boundaries and produce districts that are approximately equal in population. To the extent practical, the Commission must also consider additional factors, such as following existing district boundaries, recognizing waterways and geographic boundaries, and acknowledging Seattle’s communities and neighborhoods. The consideration of public input and a minimum of one public forum per Council District is required during this process.”

That input process just started this week, and will continue through the spring and summer. You have six ways to participate, all detailed on this webpage – you can attend a meeting at noon on upcoming Tuesdays, you can draw your own map, and you can watch for an upcoming survey, among other opportunities.

21 Replies to "Redrawing Seattle's seven City Council districts: What do you think the maps should look like?"

  • flimflam February 19, 2022 (6:36 am)

    Not a fan of the district voting for city council positions – the council has too much influence on city life to not have each poistion voted on by the entire city.

    • Thomas A Wood February 19, 2022 (9:54 am)

      Totally Agree,districts have been a disaster!

      • Jon Wright February 19, 2022 (1:17 pm)

        I have a hunch that “districts have been a disaster” really means “the voters in my district did not elect my preferred candidate.”

    • Roms February 19, 2022 (10:36 am)

      +1 to that. This ends up in a situation where the council and the mayor can’t productively work together due to misalignment, and it borderlines on the “tyranny of a few.” I’ve always thought that the council should be elected city-wide (aka, at large), and they nominate the mayor as one of them.

    • Derek February 19, 2022 (11:04 am)

      Disagree strongly. Need reps to rep their area. Magnolia needs are not the same as Rainier Valley needs. 

      • Roms February 19, 2022 (1:07 pm)

        Then why not have a council at the smaller neighborhood level then, per that logic? The needs of each neighborhood are different…

        • Derek February 19, 2022 (10:02 pm)

          There’s citywide positions. And individual district ones. It’s a check and balance.

          • Roms February 20, 2022 (8:23 am)

            Checks and balances is not that. Look it up, it’s easy to understand. And your comment doesn’t answer my question to you.

      • anonyme February 20, 2022 (5:59 am)

        Derek is completely correct.  The entire purpose of council members is to represent the varying needs of their districts, and there are two at-large members to provide a broader view.  How well they perform in those positions is another matter altogether.

  • Mellow Kitty February 19, 2022 (7:47 am)

    My opinion:  no re-districting, especially right before an election. It’s a cheap and shady move on the part of politicians. When they can’t get the votes they want, they just move the goal post until they win. 

  • Map Fan February 19, 2022 (9:16 am)

    Very interesting, thank you for posting this!Map proposal  #4 is the one that aligns most closely with my mental model of Seattle neighborhoods. The concept of D1 encompassing both sides of the Duwamish appears logical; Georgetown & Sodo have certainly become familiar places to currently existing D1 residents and it’d be good to have the input of these neighborhoods shared in future planning. It doesn’t appear that there’s an elegant way to handle giving Eastlake unified representation without making questionable choices elsewhere. With that said, I think that north Eastlake & Portage Bay have more in common with the neighborhoods north of Lake Union (and vice-versa for their southern counterparts), so it’s a reasonable compromise. The perennial concern that I’ve had with the District system remains: D7 seems to be an unrepresentative mishmash of concerns. Downtown residents and folks living in Magnolia have vastly different concerns and it’s unfair that they have to vie for the attention of the same council member.

  • HarborIslandworker February 19, 2022 (10:43 am)

    Fun fact for ya…For anybody who’s interested. People that work on Harbor Island and live in West Seattle…are the only demographic of people that have to travel outside of district 1 in order to get to their job location in district 1 because we no longer get to use a bridge that goes to a job location…👍🏻

  • Admyrl Byrd February 19, 2022 (11:15 am)

    I vote for the one that gives us the best chance to boot Herbold….

  • Jon Wright February 19, 2022 (1:33 pm)

    An interesting (to me, at least) implication is that since all of the proposals have District 1 expanding, that means we have grown at slower rate than the rest of the city. A common theme invoked in response to development here in West Seattle is that other parts of the city need to shoulder more of the burden. It turns out they have been!

    • CAM February 21, 2022 (9:59 pm)

      Are you saying perception is not reality??? No!!!!

  • Delridge neighbor February 19, 2022 (5:05 pm)

    When I see bizarre lines like this on a redistricting maps I am going to assume gerrymandering.

  • Millie February 19, 2022 (8:30 pm)

    From my perspective, and no I’m not an expert, I believe we should return to voting for Councilmembers-at-large.  No specific District Councilmembers (i.e. District 1, etc.).    We now have experience for voting by council districts and have seen how well that has turned out.  And no it is not because my candidate did not win election.  We need to elect “qualified” individuals that do not have personal agendas.  We need Councilmembers that have an interest in representing and responding to all City of Seattle residents.    I do believe West Seattle has borne “a/the burden” –  road/bridge maintenance, etc., etc.  Some of us do still go into work and need to get to our work location without having to drive miles out-of-the way.Voting for Mayor should remain as is – city-wide – primary winners (2) go on to general election.

  • Ivan Weiss February 20, 2022 (5:49 pm)

    The arguments against electing City Council members by districts are the same now as they were before the referendum. The referendum that established voting by districts passed by more than a 2 to 1 margin. The voters spoke loud and clear, and if I was a betting man, I’d put my money on voting by districts being upheld by pretty much that same margin, if it ever came to a vote again.

    • Chemist February 20, 2022 (6:39 pm)

      Around the time that I voted for district elections, I looked back into the council elections in the prior few decades and the pattern was that the incumbent was re-elected like 95% of the time that they ran.  I think the rare exception was the McIver scandal.  I think it was just too many names on the ballots at the same time shuffling at-the-polling-place votes to the names people recognize rather than a deep evaluation of every candidate in a race.  My impression is that there is far more turn-over happening since districts were enacted and I’m OK with the trade-off of not being able to apply my most-excellent judgement on every position with the idea that voters are able to just focus on the records/promises/ideas of fewer candidates.

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