SB 105
Background and Procedural Information

On January 3, 2008 Virginia Republican Senator Ken Cuccinelli introduced Virginia Senate Bill 105 (VA S.B. 105).  As of June 9, 2008 the bill is currently stalled in a Senate Committee.  The bill would authorize a five-person independent commission to redistrict congressional and state legislative districts.

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

No.  Single-member districts and neither required nor implied under VA S.B. 105.

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

Yes.  The bill requires the commission to comply with the federal statutory and constitutional law including the Voting Rights Act.  The commission may not use voter history information as a factor in developing districts.    

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The caucuses of the first and second largest political parties in both bodies of the General Assembly may select one person to serve as an appointing authority.  These four appointing authorities will each choose one person to serve on the commission.  The four commissioners, with at least three positive votes, will then choose fifth and final member of the commission to be the chairman.  The chairman must not be affiliated with the two largest parties of the state legislature.  The commission will present plans, suggestions, and data, but the final redistricting decision will be made by the General Assembly.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

No.  The commission is not required to create competitive districts, but it is forbidden to favor a “political party, incumbent legislator or member of congress, or other person or group.”

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

No.  There is no provision allowing members of the public to submit plans, but the commission most host at least three public hearings where the public may comment and ask the commissioners questions.   

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

No.  There is no provision for mid-decade redistricting.   
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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