Redistricting at the Local Level in Virginia
Many local jurisdictions in Virginia are redrawing the boundaries of their districts this year to reflect the results of the 2020 Census. The law applies to jurisdictions who elect officials chosen to represent a part of the jurisdiction. There are only four counties who elect their supervisors on a county-wide basis: Arlington, Highland, Madison, and Mathews counties. Some cities and smaller jurisdictions will also have to tackle redistricting.
Why You Should Care
Local elected officials make many decisions that affect you, your family and your community. These can include decisions on tax rates and spending on schools, parks, emergency services, social services, public health services and libraries.
How It Works
Local jurisdictions determine how they will manage their redistricting processes.
The Virginia Constitution requires that local election districts –
- Be drawn using the most recent decennial Census data
- Be substantially equal in population
- Cannot be drawn to discriminate based on race
- Must be contiguous and compact.
The Division of Legislative Services has created this resource to help explain the applicable laws and processes.
Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard!
- Learn more about your local process.
- Learn more about the boundaries of the district where you live.
- Provide input, in writing or at public hearings, on what changes should be made or the changes that are under consideration.
Here are links and additional information about the processes in some counties and cities across the state.
Mike Finchum, director of planning and community development for Caroline County, said the county is waiting for state redistricting boundaries to be drawn. County attorneys have assured them there would be no penalty if the local lines are not drawn before the end of the year. He indicated that the county may decide to establish a committee and solicit public comment with information posted on the county website. A current election district map for Caroline County is available on the county website.
Fairfax County created an advisory commission to guide its redistricting process. Details about the process are available at this website.
According to the Fredericksburg City website, “The boundaries of the City’s election wards need to be changed by December 31, 2021 to correct an imbalance of population shown in the 2020 US Census.” A public information session has been scheduled for December 7 at the Dorothy Hart Community Center, with final action scheduled for the December 14 Council meeting in Council Chambers. Maps of the current and proposed city wards with detailed information on the Fredericksburg redistricting process are available on the Fredericksburg city website.
King George County
The King George Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office has developed a Web page on local King George County redistricting. According to that page, “The King George County redistricting team will develop redistricting plans with receipt of updated Census Bureau data. The redistricting plans will be presented to the Board of Supervisors and county residents at public hearing(s) for public comment.”
As of November 18, no local Redistricting Committee has been established for Spotsylvania County. Mark Cole, deputy county administrator, said that his office will make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors on December 14. It is possible the Supervisors will decide to act as the Committee, but at this time they are waiting for state and congressional district lines to be drawn so that split precincts can be eliminated. Cole suggested that public comments could be shared with county supervisors as they are the ones ultimately responsible. Maps for the current voting districts are available on the Spotsylvania County website.
Stafford County has held the first of its public meetings about redistricting of county election districts. The process is now on hold pending redrawing of state legislative and congressional district maps by the Supreme Court of Virginia. It is also anticipated further action will wait for installation of the new Board of Supervisors in January 2022. More information is available through the county’s “Redistricting Process” web site. This includes a map of current districts, links to Redistricting Committee members, and a Comment Form. A Power Point Slide presented at the October 28 public information meeting is a good source for Stafford population statistics. There is also a live stream of that meeting.