Election 2020

Virginia Voters Approve Redistricting Reforms

Virginia's upcoming redistricting will be handled by a bipartisan commission.

|

Virginia's state lawmakers won't be able to draw their own districts without some input from the public anymore.

Nearly two-thirds of Virginian voters approved Question 1, which establishes a bipartisan redistricting commission to redraw state and federal legislative districts after this year's census. Previously, the governor and the Virginia General Assembly handled the once-per-decade redistricting.

The new commission will include eight legislators and eight citizens, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Each new map—one for the state's congressional districts, one for the state Senate, and one for the state House of Delegates—requires the approval of at least 12 commissioners, including six of the legislators and six of the citizens. The latter two types of districts also require a majority of the senators or delegates, respectively, to approve the proposed districts.

The change comes after a legal battle over the maps drawn in 2011, which federal courts ruled unconstitutional for packing black voters into specific congressional districts. The districts were redrawn by a special representative appointed by the courts.

Republicans proposed the redistricting commission after Democrats took control of the state government in 2018, but support for the initiative cuts across party lines. The Virginia Democratic Party and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus were opposed to the amendment, but some prominent Democrats, such as former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, endorsed the proposal. So did Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.) and several voting rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters.

This is part of a broader trend toward redistricting reform across the country. The Cook Political Report reports that there are already 125 congressional districts whose borders are drawn in either a nonpartisan or a bipartisan fashion, through similar commissions.

Those commissions have a mixed record when it comes to solving the self-interested problems of gerrymandering. Still, including the public in the process makes it less likely that lawmakers are picking their voters instead of the other way around.

NEXT: Twitter's Flagging of Trump's Post-Election Tweets Is Haphazard, Irrational, and Ineffectual

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I basically make about $8,000-$12,000 a month online. It’s enough to comfortably replace my old jobs income, especially considering GHE I only work about 10-13 hours a week from home. I was amazed how easy it was after I tried it copy below web………..

    See………..>> JOB 24 HOURE

    1. I get paid over $190 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 15k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless…,CLICK HERE———-> USA PART TIME JOB.

      1. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now qt I couldn’t be happier So i try use.
        Here’s what I do……. WORK24

        1. I getting Paid upto $18953 in the week, working on-line at home. I’m full time Student. I shocked when my sister’s told me about her check that was $98k. It’s very easy to do. everybody will get this job.Go to home media tab for additional details.

          See—->>> Visit Here

  2. What is the appropriate way to district black people?

    Are you supposed to district them together so they can have their own black representative, or distribute them proportionally to multiple districts so that they don’t have any black representatives?

    And which one is gerrymandering?

    1. Your question has real implications. With the new dominance of Critical Race theory that permeates everything, it’s probably going to be impossible to construct the commission in a way that doesn’t appear to be systematically racist. And I’m not joking about that.

      1. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier So i try use.
        Here’s what I do…….WORK 24

      2. You’re correct, Diane (paul).
        It will be a convenient cudgel when things don’t go right for some, and a sword of damocles hanging over the heads of others.

    2. I believe you are supposed to spread them such that they have the most secure districts. Remember, only someone with your skin color can represent you.

      1. And saying that isn’t utterly racist.

        1. That wasn’t snark at you. I don’t think that you think that. That was snark at the people who really *do* think that way.

    3. This is what I came to say. Which the fuck is it? And why do they presume that all black people vote that same anyway?

      Oh, right, because they’re racist as fuck.

  3. Virginia’s upcoming redistricting will be handled by a bipartisan commission.

    With no way to game it.

    1. No way to game? Pols always find a way. How about letting a non-partisan computer do it? The complaint is that “my town is going to be split into three districts, rather than one.” So what – now you have three legislators who represent the interest of your town, not just one.

      1. Have the computer choose districts at random every three years and mail out QR codes that people can scan to find out which district they’re in and who’s running in the next election. While at it, might as well randomize which districts politicians compete in to get rid of uncontested districts. That way you’d even split apartment buildings into multiple districts and the legislators would represent exactly the same people they do now.

        1. This… is actually a really good idea. At least in states that aren’t gigantic, with very low population densities. And possibly even there.

          Even better than my “have a computer draw the district boundaries, working to minimize perimeter length”. (So as to get rid of the completely batshit districts that exist.)

    2. Half the commission will be members of the legislature.

    3. I don’t know the appropriate way to draw districts. There should be reasonable geographic areas along which to split them. My district is mostly rural but extends into the city around DC. The population from that little sliver outweighs the rest of the district.
      I actually think that if districting was done correctly then there would be few swing districts. The goal is to have people properly represented so you would think it’s best to be as close to a concensus as possible for how regions are represented. I’ll grant that it creates more extreme candidates and fighting, but that seems better than trying to tweak districting so that either all districts are tossups or your party is guaranteed an advantage

      1. Start making extra income Earns upto $550 to $750 per day by working just online. I have made $28K in this month by working online. Its a simple and easy home job and even a little child can do this job online and makes real money. Click For Full Detail.

    4. No way to game it ?
      Despite the fact that all other parties are prohibited from participation ?

  4. So honestly why even have districts then, they will just find a way to game it. Any bipartisan commission is just a cover for democrat manipulation.

  5. “The new commission will include eight legislators and eight citizens, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.”

    So they’ll gerrymander to hold their current seats as best they can. Would now be a good time to point out that party affiliation isn’t a question on the Virginia voter registration form (it’s a PDF file)?

    Before anyone asks, yes Virginia, they have open primaries.

  6. Yeah I’m kinda wondering myself why even have districts. Is there a way to have effective representation without stacking people into defined districts?

    Why not just have slates of candidates for the entire state? A citizen could get X number of votes to choose from a list of Y number of candidates (Y > X). Could something like that work?

    1. It’s not a bad idea; it allows a lot more flexibility, but people can barely be bothered to research 2 or 3 candidates as it is. Picking the top X out of Y would break them. Hell, I’m interested in this shit and would dread having to read dozens of monotonous campaign pages trying to differentiate between the options. Add independents and third parties in the mix, and states like California would have 300+ names every other year.

      It would be people bubbling the top X names for their preferred party or whatever was written on the sample ballot they grabbed on the way in to the polling station.

    2. For the same reason we have the electoral college. The states were seen as “territories” with unique economic and political interests.

      The same is true within the sate and local level. Some cities to ‘at large’ council elections, where many do by neighborhood and district. It’s certainly not perfect, but in many cities, different neighborhoods often have unique interests that may even come into conflict with another neighborhood. The district representation model allows their unique concerns to be heard without them being melted into a larger pot, becoming diffused.

      Without district representation, you may, for instance, the bulk of your candidates may come from a richer… dare I say, whiter neighborhood, and they’ll then make decisions for poorer and possibly less white neighborhoods.

      I believe it’s just a better way to represent unique districts or populations that might get trampled in a simple, at large election.

  7. Every month start earning more cash from $20,000 to $24,000 by working very simple j0b 0nline from home. I have earned last month $23159 from this by just doing this 0nline w0rk for maximum 3 to 4 hrs a day using my laptop. This home j0b is just awesome and regular earning from this are much times better than other regular 9 to 5 desk j0b. Now every person on this earth can get this j0b and start making dollars 0nline just by follow instructions on the given web page…… Check my site.

  8. “a bipartisan redistricting commission ”

    @Reason never question’s the inherent discrimination in allowing only republicans and democrats to participate.

    IMHO, in the past you could count on @reason to point out obvious discrimination to minority 3rd parties.

    Now it almost praises it.

  9. I get paid over $190 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 15k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless…,CLICK HERE———-> USA PART TIME JOB.

  10. Google easily work and google pays me every hour and every week just $5K to $8K for doing online work from home. I am a universty student and I work n my part time just 2 to 3 hours a day easily from home. Qdf Now every one can earn extra cash for doing online home system and make a good life by just open this website and follow instructions on this page… Visit Here

  11. “Republicans proposed the redistricting commission after Democrats took control of the state government in 2018”

    This is incorrect on several accounts. Democrats proposed the redistricting commission before 2018. After Republicans narrowly held control of the General Assembly in 2017 (Virginia votes for state elections in odd years), Democrats and Republicans in a bipartisan manner both voted for the plan. Virginia requires that state constitutional amendments be referred by the General Assembly, and passed in two consecutive sessions.

    After Democrats won the General Assembly in 2019, the State Senate Dems stuck by the plan but most House of Delegates Democrats turned against it. After some hardball and twisting by the State Senate, 6 or so Democrats joined all the Republicans in passing it this year and allowing it to be put on the ballot.

    Local Democratic parties (and the state party) campaigned against it, but the Democratic US Senators and others supported it.

    1. Like a number of other states, the Republicans gerrymandered VA in after the 2010 Census (2009 was a good VA GOP year), but both the movement in the suburbs away from Republicans and successful lawsuits by VA Dems made the map much less effective of a gerrymander.

Please to post comments