How DC’s ward boundaries might change

The D.C. Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting publicly released its final map proposal Thursday, which is aimed at rebalancing the District’s population between the eight wards and introducing new proposed ward boundaries.

D.C. is required by law to rebalance the population among the districts every 10 years so all are roughly equal in size based on population.



The District’s official Census count was 689,545, which means every ward must be between 81,883 and 90,503 residents, At-Large Council member Elissa Silverman, who chairs the Redistricting Subcommittee, said during a Thursday briefing.

“The key question before the subcommittee was how to grow wards 7 and 8, which are geographically separated by the natural boundary of the Anacostia River from the rest of the city, with that small exception of the part of Ward 7 that spans the Anacostia, while shrinking the population of Ward 6,” Silverman said.

She added that the subcommittee needed “to make sure that any new political boundary that we draw is drawn in a way that does not dilute the voting strength of minority residents, of our Black voters.”

At-Large Council member Anita Bonds said there are no perfect answers in the process.

“It is inherently political. My colleagues and I have been working the phones with each other for a number of days to arrive at a mutually agreeable outcome for our respective communities,” Bonds said.

“Every citizen wants what they want and we are mandated to make the changes. And so with that spirit, we move forward. I think we had no favorites. And we tried to play the cards straight as they were dealt, and here we are today. But political or not, strategic hard policy work has been done.”

Below are the proposed boundary adjustments by ward:

Ward 1: Absorb the Armed Forces Retirement Home and medical center from Ward 5, and
extend southern border three blocks east along S Street NW.
Ward 2: Accept the Ward 6 Census tracts comprising Shaw; move western border south of
Massachusetts Avenue NW to 5th Street NW.
Ward 3: No change.
Ward 4: No change.
Ward 5: Transfer Armed Forces Retirement Home to Ward 1.
Ward 6: Transfer the Shaw Census tracts into Ward 2; transfer most of Navy Yard to Ward 8; change border with Ward 7 to be C Street NE to the north, to 15th Street NE, down to Potomac Ave SE, to 11th Street SE, returning Kingman Park to Ward 6.
Ward 7: Change the border with Ward 6 to be C Street NE to the north, to 15th Street NE, down to Potomac Ave SE, to 11th Street SE, returning Kingman Park to Ward 6.
Ward 8: Accept Navy Yard from Ward 6.

The proposed map is below.

The final map proposed by the D.C. Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting. Click to enlarge.

A subcommittee vote on the map and accompanying legislation is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. It will then go before the full council in December.

The redistricting software can be found online.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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