HJR 181
Background and Procedural Information

On January 9, 2008 Virginia Democratic House Delegate William Barlow introduced Virginia House Joint Resolution 181 (VA H.J.R. 181).  As of June 11, 2008 the bill is currently stalled in committee.  The bill would establish an11 member independent redistricting commission composed of retired judges who would be responsible for creating maps for the Virginia legislative and Congressional seats.   

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

No.  Single-member districts are neither required nor otherwise implied.   

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?

No.  There is no standard that instructs the commission to comply with the Voting Rights Act.  Also, the commission has no restrictions on its ability to use voter history information.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court will appoint all the members of the eleven-person commission.  Potential commissioners must be retried judges who served in Virginia.  If the Chief Justice refuses to make the appointment, then this responsibility passes to the Supreme Court Justice who has most recently retired.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

No.  While there are standards the redistricting commission is required to use, fostering competition within the districts is not one of these criteria.   

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

Yes.  Members of the public may attend a minimum of three public hearings and submit plans at these hearings.  However, the Commission will only look at plans “Subject to the constraints of time and convenience.”   

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

Yes.  The commission will be reconstituted within the decade only if a court orders it.   
May 14th 2008
Is the House of Representatives Too Small?

The U.S. House of Representatives has been at 435 members since 1911, when the country was a third of its current population. Research suggests that districts may now be getting too big for adequate representation.

November 15th 2006
Redistricting Reconsidered
Washington Post

Citing FairVote's Dubious Democracy 2006, an editorial notes that non-competition in U.S. House races has causes more fundamental than gerrymandering.

November 1st 2006
Lines of demarcation
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FairVote research cited in this commentary on lopsided redistricting, uncompetitive districts and the party primary battles they inspire.

October 30th 2006
Electile Dysfunction?
News Release Wire

Former FairVote President Matthew Cossolotto calls for a range of reforms, highlighting two problems of American democracy: "counting the votes" and "making votes count."

August 19th 2006
Eliminate districts
Contra Costa Times

CA resident calls for proportional voting in one statewide district as a congressional redistricting reform.

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