The League of Women Voters of Virginia Applauds General Assembly’s Bipartisan Redistricting Commission
On Saturday, the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate voted in favor of establishing a redistricting commission requirement in our Constitution.
The League of Women Voters of Virginia (LWV-VA) has been deeply engaged in redistricting reform for decades. For the past several years, LWV-VA has been working in close partnership with OneVirginia2021—working to educate and engage the public around redistricting reform. This year alone, the Leagues of Virginia have stayed up to date on all the moving pieces of redistricting legislation in the state by attending Lobby Days and rallies at the Capitol, holding redistricting forums, and sharing educational materials with the public and legislators about the importance of establishing a redistricting commission.
LWV-VA President Sue Lewis says, “We are grateful for the bipartisan and collaborative efforts of the legislators to pass this proposal that will create crucial protections for voters’ voices in our democracy. We know our work is not done yet as the identical legislation must pass the General Assembly next year before showing up on the 2020 ballot.” Approval by Virginia voters is necessary for the new system to be in the Constitution and ready for drawing maps of new districts after the 2020 Census.
The League worked hard to ensure that the proposal included key protective elements, such as true transparency and public input, were included in this legislation. The League of Women Voters of Virginia will continue to push for reforms critical to protecting and expanding democracy.
ABOUT THE PROPOSAL
As described by LWV-VA’s partner, OneVirginia 2021, here are key elements in the reform passed by the House of Delegates and the Senate on Saturday:
Establishes a Redistricting Commission of 8 legislators and 8 citizens, with a citizen serving as chair
Requires full transparency of all meetings, minutes and data
Includes specific protections for minority communities
Includes impartial review in the selection of citizen members of the commission
Excludes unelected congressional or General Assembly employees from the commission
Guards against partisan gerrymandering by requiring a supermajority of commissioners for approval of district maps
Provides the General Assembly only up-or-down votes on the commission’s maps, without amendments
Excludes the Governor from the approval process, which would throw off the balance created by the above framework
League of Women Voters ® of Virginia President