BoCC Expansion Information
Proposition No.1 Thurston County Board of County Commissioners
The Thurston County Board of Commissioners Passed Resolution No. 16181 concerning a proposition to increase the number of Thurston County Board of Commissioners. This proposition would increase the number of commissioners of the Board of County Commissioners from three (3) to five (5) commissioners who will serve in five separate newly created districts.
In the fall of 2021, Thurston County and the Port of Olympia collaborated and signed a joint resolution to put forward ballot measures during the general election to expand both governing bodies from three to five.
NEW: View the proposed map here.
The Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the Proposed Five Commissioners District Boundary Lines on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. Find more information here.
On Wednesday, September 28, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously agreed on map draft option C as the preferred alternative. You can watch the discussion and vote here.
On Friday, September 9, the Redistricting Committee agreed to move forward redistricting map options B and C (below) for review by the Board of County Commissioners and the Port of Olympia. The Redistricting Committee is comprised of the Chair of the County Commission, Chair of the Port Commission, and the County Auditor. You can find the meeting agenda here and meeting minutes here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the statutory authority for the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners to increase from three to five members?
Pursuant to RCW 36.32.055(1), the board of county commissioners of a non-charter county with a population of three hundred thousand or more, and less than four hundred thousand, may cause a ballot measure proposition to be submitted at a general election of the county authorizing the board of commissioners to be increased to five members.
On June 29, 2022, the Office of Financial Management (OFM) updated Thurston County population estimates to 300,500 based on the 2021 Census data.
How much will this cost the taxpayers?
- One-time election costs of $392,000.
- Ongoing annual staffing costs of $754,000.
- Ongoing election costs per four-year election cycle of $200,000.
How will the districts be created?
The county will be divided into five commissioner districts through the Redistricting Commission process. Each district will, as close as possible:
- Have one-fifth of the population of the county,
- maintain the current commissioners in their elected districts,
- follow precinct lines,
- maintain communities of mutual interest,
- be as compact and contiguous as possible, and
- not be gerrymandered.
When will the new commissioners be appointed to the board?
In Thurston County, county commissioners serve a four-year term. If approved by the voters, initially the district 4 commissioner will serve for a one-year term and the district 5 commissioner will serve a three-year term to allow for a staggered election cycle. After these initial terms, the new commissioner positions will serve four-year terms. The two newly created positions, district four and five commissioners, will be filled in during the general election in 2023.
What is the Redistricting Committee?
The redistricting committee is made up of the chair of the Port Commission (voting member), chair of the Board of County Commissioners (voting member), and the Thurston County Auditor (non-voting member). The committee is supported by county and port staff including the county manager, county Information Technology department and elections staff, and the Port of Olympia’s executive director.
The objectives of redistricting:
- Achieve equal population numbers by district, about 60,000 per district
- Maintain current commissioners in their elected districts
- Follow precinct lines, avoiding splitting existing precincts
- Compact and contiguous as possible
- Maintain communities of mutual interest
- No Gerrymandering
Redistricting Committee (committee) Timeline:
- August 12 - September 29: County staff and the committee shall develop a proposal to create five districts for the election of commissioners
- September 30 - The committee shall submit the final draft redistricting plan of the proposed five districts to the county and Port of Olympia
- Weeks of October 10 and October 17 - Committee shall schedule joint work sessions between the parties to review the final draft of the proposed five districts.
- November 4 - Final draft agreement of the boundaries is approved by the Port of Olympia and Thurston County legislative authorities
- November 15 - The Port of Olympia and Thurston County shall set separate public hearings to take place on November 29 to receive comment on the final approved draft of the five new districts
- November 21 - Publish the proposed district boundaries map for public review
- November 29 - Hold public hearings to receive comment on the final draft
- December 2 - Committee to meet to consider public comments - if no modifications then move to approval
- If modifications are made to the draft:
- December 9 - Submit revised final plan to the Port of Olympia and Thurston County
- December 13 - Joint work session to review revised draft
- December 15 - Port Commission and Board of County Commissioners approve final new member districts at separate special meetings
- December 19 - The Port of Olympia and Board of County Commissioners submit approved boundaries to the Thurston County Auditor
- If modifications are made to the draft:
- December 12 - Port Commission approves the final new five member districts
- December 13 - Board of County Commissioners approve the final new five member districts
- December 20 - The Port of Olympia and Board of County Commissioners submit approved boundaries to the Thurston County Auditor