Virginia Redistricting Watch
Background and procedural information
HJR 698 is a constitutional amendment that would create an independent redistricting commission. It was introduced on 1/12/05 and has been referred to the committee on privileges and elections.

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

No. While the legislation fixes the number of senators and representatives, it only requires that they be elected from the “several” districts. However, current Virginia code requires single-member districts.

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
Yes. Party registration data and voting history data must be excluded from the initial phase of the mapping process but may be used to test maps for compliance the Voting Rights Act.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
The commission would consist of 5 members. The Supreme Court is required to create a pool of 25 candidates: 10 each from the two largest parties and 5 who represent no political party. From this pool, the 4 legislative leaders each get one appointment. Those four then elect the fifth member, who must be an independent and serves as the chair. No more than two members can be from the same political party.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?
Yes. To the extent practicable, competitive districts are favored as long as doing so does not create significant detriment to the other goals of compactness and contiguity.

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Possibly. There is neither an express prohibition nor allowance.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
No. The commission is prohibited from meeting once its plan has been adopted unless there is a court order.
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
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.

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.

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

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