West Virginia Redistricting 2000

West Virginia’s Political Lineup

 1991

2001

GovernorDD
State Senate33D, 1R28D, 6R
State House74D, 26R75D, 25R
US Senators2D2D
US Reps4D2D, 1R

 

Redistricting Deadline

None.

Who’s in Charge of Redistricting?

The legislature. The governor has veto power over both congressional and state legislative district plans.

Districting Principles

Principle

Congressional

State Legis.

Compactness

+

+

Contiguity

+

+

Political subdivisions

Communities of interest

    

Cores of prior districts

    

Protect incumbents

   

VRA § 5

   

  + = required               - = prohibited

Public Access

No public hearings are scheduled. There is a possibility that proposed plans will be posted on a website.

Political Landscape

West Virginia lost one U.S. House seat following the last redistricting cycle. This forced two Democratic incumbents to run against each other in the primaries. In 2001, the state will need to be redrawn significantly because of a major shift in population, with the 2nd congressional district picking up seats at the expense of the 3rd.

Irregularly Shaped District
District 2

· Center—Charleston, Eastern Panhandle
· Democratic incumbent, but swing district
· Economically diverse
· 96% white; 3% black

Legal Issues

West Virginia's congressional district plan was challenged on equal population grounds in 1992; the overall deviation from equality was 0.09 percent. The plaintiffs alleged that the legislature had no compelling reason for such deviations, but the federal court disagreed. The court found that the population deviations were necessary to preserve the inner cores of previous districts, a legitimate interest.

In 1993, the state legislative district plan was challenged in federal court on equal population grounds as well. The court refused to consider the plan's overall population deviation range of 9.97% as preliminary evidence of an equal protection violation. The court found for the defendants. The generally recognized legal threshold is 10%.

Contact Information

 Teresa Bowe
 Legislative Analyst
 Office of Legislative Services
 Room E-132 State Capitol
 Charleston, WV 25305
 304/348-2040
 304/347-4825 Fax
 tbowe@mail.wvnet.edu