An interesting turn of events just occurred regarding this year's elections (potentially) with less than two months until filing week in Washington State.  A Federal Judge issued a redrawn map as part of his ruling in a lawsuit filed against Secretary of State Steve Hobbs over the electoral maps drawn in 2021 and accepted in 2022.

Steve Hobbs
Steve Hobbs

The adoption of the new map follows US District Court Judge Robert Lasnik's ruling on Soto Palmer v. Hobbs  in August 2023.  That stated the 15th Legislative District, as drawn, impacted voter equity among the Latino population.  It also said the map violated the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 as it 'cracked' the Latino vote.

Lasnik gave the State until February 7th of this year to provide a new map to the Court or the Court itself would submit a map it draws to the Secretary of State's Office in time for the 2024 election.

Administrative Office of the United States Courts/YouTube
Judge Lasnik-Administrative Office of the United States Courts/YouTube

Lasnik has been a US District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington since 1998 when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton.  He was Chief Judge from 2004 to 2011 and currently holds Senior Judge status.

15th District State Senator Nikki Torres from Pasco said regarding the ruling:

The Voting Rights Act was supposed to empower affected minority populations. This map decreased the number of Hispanics in the majority-minority district and [draws] out the first Hispanic senator in Eastern Washington history.

attachment-attachment-Nikki Torres LARGE
Sen. Nikki Torres

Based on this map. Torres would no longer be in the 15th District and could not run for reelection in two years.  Torres didn't hold back in her statement:

I am personally very disappointed in Judge Lasnik. He allowed the misuse of the Voting Rights Act to allow a partisan gerrymander of the Washington state redistricting map.

The Washington State Republican Party also issued a statement calling the decision a "mistake" and may have hinted this isn't wrapped up with a bow tied atop it.

It needs to be stayed and appealed. A less-partisan appeals court will likely demand a more reasonable solution to the state's redistricting questions.

You can expect an appeal to be filed long before the August primary or November general election.

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