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There’s a new process to draw election district maps in Virginia.
Following action by the Virginia General Assembly, on November 3, 2020, Virginia residents voted to amend the state’s Constitution to authorize the establishment of the Virginia Redistricting Commission.
The Commission was established for the sole purpose of developing maps for Virginia’s state legislative districts and districts for the U.S. House of Representatives, which is currently underway.
In years past, redistricting was accomplished through the normal state legislative process -- bills outlining the districts were introduced, considered and passed by a majority of both the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, and were signed by the Governor, with the legislature drawing the maps.
With the 2020 change to Virginia’s Constitution, now the Commission will draw the maps for the General Assembly to approve.
A range of factors are being considered as the maps are developed.
Population equality -- District boundaries will be based on population data provided by the U.S. Census, adjusted to reflect the reallocation of the prison population in the Commonwealth.
Voting rights -- All plans proposed by the Commission will comply with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as the Virginia Constitution and other federal and state law on minority voting rights.
Communities of interest -- Communities of interest are extremely important to the Commission, and the interest in preserving these communities is reflected in the Commission’s Guidelines and Criteria.
With just 45 days from receiving the 2020 U.S. Census data to create the maps, the Commission has a lot to do in a short period of time.
Members of the public are encouraged to share what they think.
There are a number of ways members of the public can help shape the maps as they are being developed, including:
What’s a Community of Interest?
Virginia Code defines “communities of interest” as a neighborhood or any geographically defined group of people living in an area who share similar social, cultural, and economic interests. A "community of interest" does not include a community based upon political affiliation or relationship with a political party, elected official, or candidate for office.
To maintain communities of interest in Virginia, the Commission is required by law to consider the following (listed in order of priority):
Every electoral district should be composed of contiguous and compact territory and should give as nearly as is practicable, representation in proportion to the population of the district.
The integrity and priority of existing political subdivisions should be preserved to the extent possible by avoiding unnecessary divisions of those subdivisions.
Districts must have clearly defined and clearly discernible boundaries.
Districts must be reasonably compact, as compared with existing political subdivisions.
Neighborhoods or any geographically defined group of people living in an area who share similar social, cultural, and economic interests should be maintained to the extent possible.
Is there a community of interest that’s important to you? Let the Commission know by clicking here.
Are there organizations you would like us to include in our outreach? Make your suggestions by clicking here.
NOW BEING TRANSLATED INTO SPANISH LIVE!
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October 18, 2021, 8:00 a.m. (Pocahontas Building, Senate Room A, Richmond) -- Register here before Noon on 10/17/21.
October 20, 2021, 8:00 a.m. (Capitol Building, House Room 3, Richmond) -- Register here before Noon on 10/19/21.
October 22, 2021, 10:00 a.m. (Capitol Building, House Room 3, Richmond) -- Register here before Noon on 10/21/21.
October 25, 2021, 8:00 a.m. (Capitol Building, House Room 3, Richmond) -- Register here before Noon on 10/24/21.