congressional map

Virginia's congressional districts

Of the two amendments to the Virginia Constitution which will be on November's ballot, one seeks to create a Virginia Redistricting Commission responsible for redrawing legislative district maps.

This new redistricting commission would made up of 16 individuals, eight legislators and eight citizens, with equal amounts Democrats and Republicans.

In March, the Democrat controlled General Assembly narrowly voted to take redistricting power out of the hands of the Governor and the General Assembly. This followed the passage of the same bill by the legislature in 2019, leaving the final decision up to Virginia voters.

Virginia's constitution requires legislative district lines be redrawn every ten years, with the requirement that they be a proportional representation of the population.

With the completion of the 2020 census, the lines of Virginia's legislative districts are next up for redrawing in 2021 with a Democrat controlled House and Senate.

The campaign for this amendment, formed from an initiative driven by bipartisan reform coalition OneVirginia2021, takes aim at the long-criticized practice of gerrymandering, the illegal process of drawing district lines around demographics to ensure a district votes one way.

The bi-partisan group Fair Maps Virginia says this power in the hands of the General Assembly has led to "politicians picking their voters, when it should be the other way around."

Historically, Virginia's legislative districts have been criticized for racial gerrymandering, and in 2018, a federal court held that 11 of the state's House of Delegates districts concentrated African American voters too heavily and deprived them of representation.

As a result, 26 of the 100 House districts, drawn in 2011 by a then-Republican controlled House, were changed according to a redistricting plan ordered by the court. The nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project reported that the redistricting made six of the districts more favorable to Democrats.

Four of those districts would go on to be won by Democratic candidates in 2019. These and other wins in House and Senate races last year led to a Democratic majority in both houses of Virginia's legislature for the first time since 1995.

Another amendment which will be on the ballot this November would remove state and local taxes on vehicles owned by veterans with a service-connected permanent disability.

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