PORT ANGELES — Voting options in four precincts with a combined population of 4,156 residents were changed this week by the Clallam County Districting Commission, shrinking Sequim District 1 to give it more equal voter representation among the three county commissioner districts.
The unanimous decision Monday was the commission’s final act in redrawing districts represented by the county’s top partisan elected officials — its county commissioners — currently Democrat Mark Ozias, Sequim District 1; Randy Johnson, no party preference, Port Angeles-area District 2; and Republican Bill Peach, West End-Port Angeles District 3.
The decision also affects the three Port of Port Angeles board of commissioner positions, which are drawn to the same boundaries as those for the county commissioners.
The five-person panel unanimously voted to move 2,952 Sequim District residents in the Carlsborg, Riverside and Lost Mountain precincts to Port Angeles county commissioner District 2.
And they shifted 1,204 residents from District 2, Precinct 106 — in the city of Port Angeles — to West End county commissioner District 3.
Carlsborg precinct is just west of the city of Sequim. Lost Mountain is west of Hooker Road and contiguous with Riverside.
Port Angeles 106 lies in the vicinity of Hurricane Ridge Road.
They forwarded their decision to county commissioners and County Auditor Shoona Riggs.
No members of the public commented at the meeting.
Peach is up for re-election in 2022, Ozias in 2023 and Johnson in 2024.
Port Commissioner Steven Burke and Colleen McAleer were re-elected in November. District 3 Port Commissioner Connie Beauvais is up for re-election in 2023.
Districting commissioners on Nov. 29 unanimously recommended their preferred plan from four alternatives that were put together by districting consultants Don Corson and Gene Unger.
They discarded three other alternatives, changing their methodology based on an analysis by former county Commissioner Ron Richards and other commenters.
Richards said in a Nov. 19 email to county commissioners that the three original alternatives exceeded the 5 percent population threshold — mandated in the county charter — between the largest and smallest districts, leaving fast-growing Sequim District 1 under-represented.
Under the option chosen Monday, District 1, with a 4.9 percent difference between it and District 2, was on the verge of exceeding that threshold in the next 10-year cycle before redistricting is considered again if voters were not shifted from Sequim-area precincts.
District 1 becomes the smallest district and Port Angeles District 2 the largest.
The difference between Districts 1 and 2 is 3.65 percent, between Districts 2 and 3 is 0.86 percent and between Districts 3 and 1 is 2.76 percent.
The populations are 26,099 for Port Angeles District 2. Population is 25,876 for West End-Port Angeles District 3 and 25,180 for Sequim District 1.
District 2 will have 3.65 percent more population than District 1, the greatest difference among the three voting areas.
The districting commission followed the county charter’s road map that, in order of priority, says county commissioner districts must be approximately equal in population, with the largest population district not exceeding the smallest by more than 5 percent.
District boundaries must generally run north to south, be geographically compact and continuous and be composed of whole voting precincts as much as possible.
“The new boundaries are contiguous, which was one of the requirements,” commission Chair John Teichert said.
“They are generally in a north-south orientations, and we did not divide up any precincts as they stand today,” he said, adding the panel met the requirements of the charter.
There were no public comments, as no members of the public were online for the meeting, which was held over Zoom.
Commission member Brad Collins said the new district lines were a positive development for District 1, the county’s fastest-growing area.
“This was brought up, I think, repeatedly by some of the public comment we received, and that is, for the first time, District 1 won’t be the most populous district, so they will not be under-represented for the next 10 years, or at least until they grow faster than the rest of us,” Collins said.
“And I think that that’s a positive change, which means that our districts should stay equally represented.”
Other members of the commission, which held its last meeting Monday, are Walter Livingston, county Democratic Party representative Beverly Hetrick-Oosterveld, and county Republican Party representative Jim McEntire.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].