HJR 70
Background and Procedural Information

On January 4, 2008 Virginia Democratic House Delegate Plum introduced Virginia House Joint Resolution 70 (VA H.J.R. 70).  As of June 11, 2008 it is stalled in a House Committee.  The bill would give a thirteen-person independent redistricting commission the responsibility of redistricting state legislative and congressional districts.  

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

No.  The number of Senators and Delegates is set within certain limits, but there are no restrictions on the number of districts that would prevent multi-member districts.   

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

The commission may not use addresses of incumbent legislators and members of congress, political affiliations of registered voters, and previous election results.   

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The legislative leaders of the two largest political parties present in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate and the chairpersons of the state committees of the two political parties that received the most votes in the most recent gubernatorial general election will each select two people to serve as commissioners.  These first twelve commissioners will then, with at least seven positive votes, choose a thirteenth and final commissioner member to serve as chairperson.  The chairperson cannot be affiliated with any political party. 
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 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.   
October 23rd 2005
Who Should Redistrict?

The New York Times Magazine explains the dilemmas many states, including California, face as they attempt to create competitive and fair congressional districts. Dean Murphy cites FairVote's statistics.

October 15th 2005
Wamp fresh leadership for sagging Republicans
The Tennessean

According to FairVote's Ryan O'Donnell, the Republican party should seize the opportunity to embrace electoral reforms, and take the lead on ending gerrymandering.

October 5th 2005
Mapping the way to a better system
Boston Herald

Why Massachusetts should turn a critical eye towards gerrymandering. This article mentions Fairvote.

October 2nd 2005
Several states may change redistricting process
L.A. Times

Discussion of redistricting practices in California, Massachusetts and Florida. Mentions Tanner's bill.

September 25th 2005
Local GOP breaks with governor to oppose redistricting
Auburn Journal

An article about the debate over a proposal that would give a panel of judges the responsibility of redistricting

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