City of Everett Voting Districts Plan Finalized for 2021

How the 2021 plan will affect students at EvCC.

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Everettwa.gov

The final draft for District Map A-9. The zone lines are based on the city’s population density.

What are voting Districts?

Districts are zones within the city that a District Council Member will be responsible for representing. What is proposed are five districts with seven council members. A single council member represents each district and must live in that district. Two council members will be representing the entirety of the city and can live anywhere in the City of Everett. Each of the five districts are 20%(+/-5%) (approximately 1/5th) of the population. Lines were drawn based on very specific criteria to preserve the integrity of the city and its citizens. (Explained in-depth here) (RCW Regarding Districts)

Lines will be redrawn every ten years to match the city census. “If any of the districts exceeds a certain population ‘deviation’ next year when the 2020 census data is released, those districts will have to be adjusted to bring them back within an acceptable amount. So, the plan may change next year.” said Tony Fairfax, Districting Master via Email.

Why Voting Districts?

Fairfax said, “First, it usually provides for fairer representation. In some cases, the at-Large system (where council persons are elected city-wide) may continuously elect persons from the same areas of the city” He says that, ”Breaking the jurisdiction into districts allows a councilperson to become familiar with a smaller area, and in turn, the issues and concerns of that area.” This plan could create an opportunity for EvCC students to talk with our district’s council member. 

“Second, districts are usually better for the jurisdiction’s minority population… The minority population usually has a better chance of electing candidates of choice if the voting area is smaller where they can make up a greater percentage of the district.” This plan will help provide more representation for all students at Everett Community College.

Tony Fairfax, Districting Master for City Of Everett. (Courtesy photo from Tony Fairfax.)

“The third general reason is that a greater number of citizens are usually able to run for office under a districting scheme… The cost of contacting and reaching voters in a city-wide effort is usually out of the reach of the average citizen. However, when the city is divided into districts, the cost is usually significantly reduced,” This allows young politicians to run for office and get their opinions across without requiring a large budget. 

Sharing ideas with a district representative will help provide representation and remind council members of our district’s wants or needs. Hearing from EvCC students directly can be influential to decisions being made if those decisions will impact students. Having more district council members available will allow students to reach out and have our district representatives join local events that can help bridge the gap between students and the city council.  

How will this affect EvCC?

“The idea is that populating the city council by individual districts will allow for better representation of all of the city’s neighborhoods; I could see that benefiting students who live in neighborhoods that have not felt well represented up to now. I think this is a good thing and will allow for a more diverse city council.” Says Dr. Horn of EvCC’s Political Science Department. EvCC falls into District 1. Students living near EvCC will undoubtedly be represented more fairly when voting since EvCC is a major area in District 1. This means that there will be potential for District 1’s council member to hear thoughts from EvCC students and participate in EvCC events to gain a greater understanding of students’ perspectives.

Where is Everett in the Process?

“The districting plan is completed, has received city council approval, and is slated to be used in the next council election.” Said Fairfax. The next election is August of 2021; registration is due in May of 2021. All of the information about candidates and important dates will be updated on the county’s website in February of 2021. 

Who are our council members and what areas do they represent?

“Beginning in 2021, the five districts will each elect one city councilmember, who must live in the district they represent. The remaining two council positions will be at-large and able to live anywhere within city limits.” according to Everettwa.gov. The voting ballot will be updated in February of 2021. 

How will this affect Everett Citizens?

Citizens will now be represented by a single district council member and two that represent the whole city. This creates a more equal voting system. (Explained in-depth here

“Everett citizens will now have some representation that is elected regionally instead of the past city-wide at-large system. The new districting plan will most likely result in voters seeing their councilperson at more local events and establishments since they no longer feel compelled to attend events city-wide to garner votes. Usually, this has the effect of the citizens in a district becoming more familiar with council representatives and vice versa.” Says Fairfax

Citizens of Everett, especially the EvCC dorms, will be represented more and be seeing more of their District Council Representatives after voting has commenced in August 2021.