Making Democracy Work

A Voice For Citizens, A Force For Change

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging the informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Redistricting Reform Heats Up

Redistricting reform is heating up as an issue in Virginia, thanks to a federal court's decision that the boundaries of the 3rd Congressional District, represented by Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott, were unconstitutional because the Virginia General Assembly had tried to pack as many African-Americans as possible into the district around Richmond.

Despite meeting briefly in a special session in August, the General Assembly failed to meet a September 1 deadline for redrawing the district, as specified by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. After the deadline passed, the co-presidents of the Virginia League of Women Voters published an op-ed in several newspapers around the state, urging the judges to use as a starting point one of the maps that were prepared in 2011 by independent groups, such as then-Gov. Bob McDonnell's bipartisan redistricting advisory commission or the winning teams from a competition among Virginia colleges. To read entire article click here.

Redistricting? Reapporionment: The Current Status

he LWVUS has a study underway which may lead to a decision on wording of the national League's redistricting reform criteria. This month's unit meetings will be devoted to a discussion on this multifaceted topic based on a study of the present situation in Virginia. The Virginia General Assembly has been told by the courts to redraw the district lines for the Third Congressional District. Our study provides background to help you develop an informed unbiased opinion. It explains several ongoing Court cases and describes the LWV-VA's involvement in studying and working for reform. The situation is fluid, and it is likely there will be changes before we meet. Updates to the current status will be provided. Your Board urges you to read this issue of the VOTER and actively participate in your unit's discussion. To read the entire article, click here.

Voter Turnout for Elections is Declining

In Virginia, elections are held every year in November: Year 1 is for Governor (last held in 2013); Year 2: the U.S. Congress (2014); Year 3: the Virginia Legislature and statewide and local offices (2015); and Year 4: President and U.S. Congress (2016).

This year, 2015, in a Year-3 election, Virginia voters will elect officials who will have direct influence on their lives: transportation, schools funding, property tax rates, etc. Turnout in Year-3 elections has been falling for 30 years. In Fairfax County there will be candidates for 52 offices, but less than 30 percent of eligible voters in Virginia, including Fairfax County, will likely go to the polls to cast a ballot and select leaders for the next four years. This is not a new phenomenon. Note in Figure 1 the percentage of registered voters who actually voted in presidential vs. other elections and the especially low turnout in Year-3 elections (2003, 2007, 2011). To read the entire article, click here.

State Board of Elections Updates Website

The Virginia State Board of Elections has updated its website to include a complete list of all candidates running for all offices in the November election. There are two lists: one for the state offices and the other for local offices. You can now reach these lists by clicking here.

Don't remember who your elected officials are or which district you are in? Click here, enter your address and get the answers.

Redistricting Lawsuit Based Upon Virginia's Constitution

You may have read that OneVirginia2021has gathered some plaintiffs to sue state officials regarding the voting district lines in 11 state Senate and House Districts. Several of these plaintiffs are League members. The basis of this suit is that these district lines do not comply with the Virginia Constitution's stipulation that districts must be compact.  While the League does not consider compactness the only criteria for fairness, it is the one in the Constitution that we can hang a lawsuit on. Named as defendants in the suit are some election officials we consider our friends but we all know who is responsible for the gerrymandered districts in question.  To read the text of the suit, click here.

Third Congressional District Comments Submitted

Things are happening in Virginia regarding the need to reform the redistricting process! Two items have just been put on the website that will be of interest in this fight.  Your state board recently agreed to sign on to the comments sent to the Special Master who is in charge of redrawing the lines for the Third Congressional District. The deadline for those comments was September 18 and we were able to turn around getting board and LWVUS approval in a very short time. The comments were drafted by the President of the OneVirginia2021 Board of Directors.  You may recall that the basis of the original decision was connected to racial inequality issues. To read these comments Click Here.

League of Women Voters of Virginia Joins With Prince William County and Others to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act

Mark your calendars for September 25 at 5 p.m. and come out and join us to celebrate this historic day in our history. Listen to individual speakers, a panel discussion, try out the new voting equipment and even register to vote. The event will be held at the Little Union Baptist Church in Dumfries, VA. For more information, click here.

To view a video on YouTube that was prepared by the PW County Communications Department containing interviews of some of our residents and footage of President Johnson and MLK, Jr., click here.

LWV of Virginia To Hold Public Forum on "Structures of Democracy"

"Money in Politics" and "Amending the US Constitution" will be the subjects of a public forum and workshop scheduled by the League of Women Voters of Virginia for October 1 in Richmond. The two topics represent subjects on which the LWVUS has prepared extensive materials and is asking for input from local Leagues nationwide. The public is encouraged to hear two speakers on the topics and to join in the discussion.

The forum will be held in the Virginia Capitol Building, House Rm. 3, through the entrance at 1000 Bank Street, starting at 9:45 with registration and coffee.


9:45 Registration/Coffee 10:00 Dr. Dan Palazzolo, Prof. of Political Science, U. of Richmond: "Money in Politics" (to enhance our understanding of the new schemes and structures used to influence elections and erode protections against corruption, and to review possible responses to counter them) 11:15 Break 11:30 Buffet Lunch Senate Room 3: (Cost $30.00 per person) 12:00 Gail M. Deady, Women's Rights Legal Fellow, ACLU of Virginia: "Amending the US Constitution" (to attempt to arrive at agreement on what the ideal process should entail, in view of the fact that the Constitution itself does not spell this out clearly) 1:00 Break/ (move back to House Rm. 3) 1:30 Workshop on LWV consensus process/ sharing of LWVUS- provided materials for the Money in Politics and Constitutional Amendment studies

To register for this event click here.

League of Women Voters Calls for Transparency in Virginia Redistricting Process

As the General Assembly meets in special session to redraw the maps for Virginia's congressional districts, the League of Women Voters of Virginia calls on the General Assembly to ensure that the process is as transparent as possible. Click Here to read the full statement.

OneVirginia2021 Calls for Transparency in Redistricting; Sets Criteria for Fair and Open Process

LWV-VA is working closely with OneVirginia2021 on redistricting issues. The Governor has called a special meeting of the Legislature for August 17 on redistricting to comply with a court order on redistricting.  We were among the first members of OneVirginia. Here's the latest "call to action" from its executive director! Please help and sign their petition, if you possibly can! 

Click Here to sign the petition. To read the press release, click here

Dianne and Lois 

[Link studiesredistricting_2015_15_08_oneva2012pressrelease_cannon.pdf]


2015 is a busy election year in Virginia with all seats in the General Assembly and most local governing bodies up for election. A complete list can be found here.


On June 23, 2015, Governor McAuliffe announced two changes to the restoration of rights process, representing th latest steps in pursuit of his priority to ensure all Virginians have the opportunity to exercise their voting and civil rights. Read More.

Your Vote Counts. "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting." Franklin D. Roosevelt