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Redistricting Commission receives new maps

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 3:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: It’s crunch time for members of Virginia’s redistricting commission.

Monday morning they began reviewing new legislative maps drawn by Democratic and Republican consultants.

And they have now just three weeks to submit final maps to the General Assembly.

As the experts have worked to keep communities of interest intact and avoid splitting cities and counties, they’ve placed more than one incumbent in a single district.

In the Republican plan for the House of Delegates, for example, analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project shows District 89 includes the residences of three delegates: Terry Austin, Ronnie Campbell and Chris Head.

And there are other districts in both the House and Senate plans that pair incumbents in a single district.

Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton isn’t impressed with the process so far. And he says it’s still unclear what kind of redistricting plan we will ultimately get.

“It’s a process some say is like making sausage, but we’re not even sure it’s sausage that’s being made right now,” Denton said. “We can’t really tell if this is really about redistricting, rather than about power, partisanship and certainly hard-ball politics.”

Members of the redistricting commission must submit a plan to the General Assembly by October 10. And then the General Assembly must vote it up or down.

If lawmakers fail to approve the commission’s plan, the State Supreme Court will choose the district lines.

EARLIER STORY: Members of Virginia’s Redistricting Commission have just two weeks until another round of public hearings and three weeks until they must vote on new legislative maps.

And their effort is still very much a work in progress.

This week, the commission is getting a look at new statewide maps for all 40 districts in the Virginia Senate and all 100 in the House of Delegates.

Democratic and Republican consultants submitted two sets of maps.

Some of the new districts include more than one incumbent, and that, says WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton, will set up some interesting political considerations.

“Who would not run for re-election? Would you defer to one of your colleagues? What are the chances? What does it look like? Would you even consider moving, which we’ve had people do in the past, move their residency from one to the other,” Denton said. “So it’s a big chess board right now.”

The commission must submit a redistricting plan to the General Assembly by October 10th. If lawmakers vote it down, the Virginia Supreme Court will have the final say.

To take a closer look at the proposals, click on the following link to the Virginia Redistricting Commission website:

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