At the Thursday, October 14 meeting of the Virginia Redistricting Commission, it was announced they are moving on to consideration of Congressional district maps. By the end of the morning, they were able to agree to one draft map that combined the 11 Congressional districts, some districts drawn by the Republican and others by the Democratic team. The combined map was posted Thursday evening on the Commission website as #364, C1 Statewide.
The next meeting of the Commission will be Monday, October 18 at 8 a.m. At that time, they will consider public comments on the proposed maps. Take a close look! Is your “community of interest” divided? If you live in the western part of Virginia, should Congressional districts cross the mountains or run through the valley? They also are asking for citizen feedback on the best way to approach “partisan fairness” with competitive districts as one option.
Now may be one of the last times to make your voice heard! Post your comments on the map online by Sunday evening in time for Monday’s early meeting. Submit your personal views on “partisan fairness,” “crossing mountains,” and other concerns about redistricting. You can also email the commissioners at . The deadline to sign up to speak virtually at Monday’s meeting is Sunday, October 17 at noon.
Check the Commission website for the latest schedule information with times, agendas and materials. Videos of previous Commission hearings and meetings are also available at that link.
Learn More About “Communities of Interest”
The 2020 enabling legislation that defined aspects of the current round of redistricting specified that districts should be drawn to preserve “Communities of Interest.” The law defined a community of interest as “a neighborhood or any geographically defined group of people living in an area who share similar social, cultural, and economic interests.” In the past, such communities often had their voting rights suppressed through gerrymandering or other forms of voter suppression. Several new tools have been created to help these groups and neighborhoods identify themselves and their boundaries so that the Redistricting Commission can try to keep them intact as it draws district lines. Click hereto learn more.
About the New Bi-Partisan Redistricting Commission
On November 3, 2020, Virginia voters approved a new amendment to the State Constitution that will change the way the Commonwealth does its biennial redistricting. The League of Women Voters of Virginia supported the amendment as a positive reform designed to bring to an end partisan gerrymandering.
The amendment created a new 16-member, bipartisan commission, made up of eight legislators and eight citizens. The citizen members were chosen on January 7, 2021, by a committee of five retired state circuit court judges. More than 1,200 Virginians completed applications to serve on the commission, and the General Assembly’s four legislative leaders each submitted the names of at least 16 persons from which the justices made their appointments. The legislator members were previously appointed by the General Assembly’s four leaders. At the commission’s first meeting, citizen members Greta J. Harris and Mackenzie K. Babichenko were chosen to serve as the commission’s co-chairs.
Nominated/Appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth:
James Abrenio of Fairfax
Sean S. Kumar of Alexandria
Sen. Mamie Locke of Hampton
Sen. George Barker of Fairfax
Nominated/Appointed by House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax:
Brandon Christopher Hutchins of Virginia Beach
Greta J. Harris of Richmond
Delegate Marcus Simon of Falls Church
Delegate Delores McQuinn of Richmond
Nominated/Appointed by Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City:
Virginia Trost-Thornton of Forest (Replaced Marvin W. Gilliam Jr. of Bristol who resigned, effective July 7, 2021.)
Richard O. Harrell III of South Boston
Sen. Ryan McDougle of Hanover
Sen. William Stanley of Franklin (Replaced Sen. Steve Newman of Forest who resigned September 6, 2021.)
Nominated/Appointed by House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah:
Jose A. Feliciano Jr. of Fredericksburg
Mackenzie K. Babichenko of Mechanicsville
Del. Les Adams of Chatham
Del. Margaret Ransone of Westmoreland
For additional details about the commission’s citizen members, click here.
The Division of Legislative Services manages the work of the Virginia Redistricting Commission through this website.
Here is a summary of the new constitutional amendment.
Virginia’s election maps and the boundaries between districts have historically been drawn by the General Assembly, our state legislators whose careers can rise or fall based on where the lines end up. Politicians can use these maps to dilute voters’ power. Short Video.
The League of Women Voters of Virginia first formally studied redistricting in 1983 in order to form a position from which to advocate. However, archival materials housed at the Library of Virginia indicate an interest as far back as 1952. Our current position was updated in 2007.
Gerrymandering runs counter to equal voting rights for all eligible voters. It can amount to illegal voter suppression, as some communities gain disproportionate representation and others lose the ability to elect candidates of their choice.
The League of Women Voters opposes partisan and racial gerrymandering. The League supports publicly transparent processes and supports processes designed to improve fair representation.