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VA Voters Choose New Direction for Redistricting

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 Virginians have voted to change the way congressional districts are drawn in Virginia.  For centuries, these districts have been designed to favor the party in power, a practice known as Gerrymandering. But that’s about to change, in time for the 2020 final census. Robbie Harris reports.

 

Nicholas Goedert is a Virginia Tech political science professor who studies elections and redistricting. He has found, adoption of these commissions, which have been on the rise for the past few decades, “have resulted in increased numbers of competitive elections, increased number in turnover and citizen responsiveness, and reduced bias in congressional delegations.”

 

On Tuesday, Virginia joined the club. The commonwealth’s ‘yes’ vote on Constitutional Amendment 1, means voting districts in Virginia could become less slanted toward the party already in power when voting districts are drawn every 10 years.  

 

The amendment voters passed creates a commission of 8 republicans, 8 Democrats and 8 citizens to design the district drawing.  Goedert says other states, such as California have gone further, with no elected officials on the redistricting commission.

“The Virginia amendment is a little different than most that have been adopted in other states, in that it does still involve more direct involvement of the state legislators themselves.”

 

Nonetheless, Goedert expects to see positive effects from Virginia’s creating a bipartisan redistricting commission in Virginia.