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.   
    
November 10th 2005
Why Redistricting and Campaign Reform Are Both Still Relevant
TPM Cafe

This political column cites FairVote as it points to the value of getting rid of winner-take-all elections to as the next step in redistricting reform.

November 2nd 2005
Gerrymander may help GOP in '06
The Napa Valley Registrer

An article that cites FairVote on why Gerrymandering harms elections and has an impact on skewed results.

November 2nd 2005
California, Ohio to vote on redistricting changes
Washington Post

FairVote's Rob Richie gets the last word on lack of voter choice in our elections, as this wire article reports on redistricting reform efforts in California and Ohio.

November 2nd 2005
How Money Buys Power in American Politics

Francis X. Clines, an editorial board member for the New York Times, writes on national politics, gerrymandering and the resultant decreased competitiveness in Congressional elections. Fairvote is cited.

October 27th 2005
To Tame Polarization Of Politics, Fix Our Redistricting System
Roll Call

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