Virginia's Redistricting

Virginia's Redistricting News

Virginia's Redistricting News (November 7, 2001-May 29, 2002)

Virginia's Redistricting News (July 1, 2001-October 22, 2001)

Virginia's Redistricting News (April 11, 2001 - June 28, 2001)

Virginia's Redistricting News (February 15-April 10)

All information below is from early 2001

Virginia�s Political Lineup







State Senate

30D, 10R

18D, 22R

State House

59D, 39R, 2I

47D, 52R, 1I

US Senators

1D, 1R


US Reps

6D, 4R

3D, 7R, 1I

Redistricting Deadline

The legislative redistricting plan was adopted on May 11, 2001 and was precleared by the Department of Justice on June 15, 2001 (House) and July 10, 2001 (Senate). The congressional redistricting plan was adopted on July 19, 2001 and as of August 2001 awaits Department of Justice preclearance.

Who�s in Charge of Redistricting?

The legislature, where the Joint Reapportionment Committee has jurisdiction. The governor has veto power over both the congressional and state legislative district plans.

Districting Principles 



State Legis.







Political subdivisions


Communities of interest


Cores of prior districts



Protect incumbents



VRA � 5



  + = required               - = prohibited             a=allowed

Public Access

Statewide public hearings will be held. Also, maps of proposed plans will be available and are a matter of public record. This information is all available in print as well as online .

Also see an analysis of the 2001 Virginia elections, including turnout trends and effects of redistricting on races, by Washington and Lee University Professor Mark Rush.

Political Landscape

Virginia Democrats in 1991 drew good plans for their party, both for the state legislature and the state�s congressional delegation, but the partisan tide in the state has steadily swung districts toward Republicans. Republicans finally took control of both the state senate and state house in 1999, and are poised to cement their state legislative advantage and their recent gains in congressional elections in 2001. It is quite possible that the combination of redistricting and retirement of long-time Democratic incumbents could lead to Democrats being reduced to two U.S, House seats during the upcoming decade, while the state legislative plan already has led to the retirement of several top Democrats in the legislature.

Legal Issues

Virginia�s state senate and house plans were challenged in 1991 and 1992. The house challenge was heard in federal court on the theory that it was a partisan gerrymander. The court dismissed the plaintiffs� claims because there had been no harm done by the plan as of that time since no elections had been held under the new plan. The senate plan was challenged in state court on state constitutional grounds. The plaintiffs pointed out that the 18th senatorial district did not comply with state constitutional compactness requirements. The court found that the General Assembly was simply attempting to honor other competing interests, such as compliance with the Voting Rights Act and the equal population requirements of the 14th Amendment.

Virginia's 3rd congressional district was challenged in 1995. A federal court ruled that the 3rd was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. The court did not accept Virginia's contention that the majority-black district was the result of an attempt to avoid possible dilution of minority voting power, which would make them liable under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Virginia enacted a revised 3rd district in 1998 that was more geographically compact.

Irregularly Shaped District
District 3

Irregularly Shaped District
District 11

� Southeast�parts of Richmond, Newport News, and Norfolk

� The courts ordered redistricting that in 1998 reduced the 3rd�s black population from 64% to 53%

� Very Democratic (some local Republicans near Richmond)

� 44% white; 54% black; 2% other

� DC suburbs�parts of Fairfax & Prince William counties

� Competitive swing district at start of decade, but now represented by entrenched incumbent

� Well-educated, middle- and upper-class suburbanites

� Mostly white

�  81% white; 8% black; 8% Asian; 7% Hispanic


Contact Information

 Mary Spain

 Staff Attorney

 Division of Legislative Services

 910 Capitol Street

 Richmond, VA 23219


 804/371-0169 Fax

 [email protected]

For more information:

National Committee for an Effective Congress' Redistricting Resource: Virginia
-Summary and map of new congressional districts

EMILY's List Congressional Redistricting Report: Virginia
-Virginia Redistricting Chronicle


Redistricting Provisions 2000


 of page

Copyright � 2001 The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 610    Takoma Park, MD  20912
(301) 270-4616 ____  [email protected]