Redistricting in Virginia

Upcoming Meetings of the Virginia Redistricting Commission

Full Commission–4 p.m. Tuesday August 3

Pocahontas Building, Richmond (in person)

Click here to view the livestream of meetings or view recordings of past meetings. The livestream link is found by clicking on the Agenda for each meeting. 

Commission Schedule for Pre-Map-Drawing Public Hearings 

In-Person Hearings

Northern Region: Tuesday July 27 @ 4 p.m. in Fairfax (George Mason University, Johnson Center/ Dewberry Hall)
Central Region: Tuesday August 3  6 p.m. in Richmond (Pocahontas Building)

Virtual Hearings

Eastern Region: Thursday July 22 @ 10 a.m.
Southwest Region: Thursday July 29 @ 4 p.m.
Valley Region: Thursday August 5 @ 6 p.m.

 

Further details will be provided when available. 
This is the map the commission is using to define these regions (and their political jurisdictions) for its hearings. 

CooperCenter_DemographicRegions_Map_ListCountiesCities

The commission’s approved guidelines for its public hearings call for comments to be submitted in writing or virtually or in-person at the scheduled in-person hearings. Those wanting to provide virtual comments must sign up at least 24 hours in advance of either in-person or virtual hearings. Those wanting to provide in-person comments at scheduled in-person hearings must sign up within one hour after the start of the hearing. The order of commenters will be on a first-come, first-served basis, with comments limited to three minutes. 

Here are the complete guidelines and rules of conduct for the public hearings.  (The commission amended this draft to change the deadline for registering to make in-person comments from ten minutes to one hour.)

 

The commission plans another round of public hearings to solicit comments once it draws  its proposed maps for legislative and congressional boundaries. Here is the tentative schedule:

In-Person Hearings

West Central Region: September 20
Eastern Region: September 20
Southwest Region: September 24 (Abingdon or Wytheville)
Valley Region: September 24 (Staunton or Harrisonburg)

Virtual Hearings
Southside Region: September 21
Hampton Roads Region: September 22
Northern Region: September 23
Central Region: September 25

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 preserveCommunities 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 here to 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. 

Commission Members

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:

  • Marvin W. Gilliam Jr. of Bristol (Gilliam resigned, effective July 7, 2021)
  • Richard O. Harrell III of South Boston
  • Sen. Steve Newman of Lynchburg
  • Sen. Ryan McDougle of Hanover

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. 
Why Redistricting Matters
What’s Wrong with Redistricting in Virginia?

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.

League Position

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.

 

Other Resources on Redistricting

OneVirginia2021 Foundation

Brennan Center for Justice

Virginia Civic Engagement Table

National Conference of State Legislatures

 

Citizen-led Commissions: The Experience in Other States

   OneVirginia2021: Panel with California Commissioners

   OneVirginia2021: Interview with AZ Commission Chair

 

 

 

Share this: