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Redistricting Commission to Begin Drawing Districts by August 16

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A US Census Bureau official clarified Virginia’s Redistricting Commission’s timeline for producing new voter districts in the commission’s meeting Monday.

James Whitehorne from the US Census Bureau told commissioners that they’d receive legacy census data by August 16th. That’s in line what they knew before: that they’d have to start work on new maps in mid-August. The Virginia constitution says they need to submit maps to the General Assembly 45 days after receiving census data.

Senator George Barker is one of the legislators on the commission. He said the new maps would be drawn before the November elections but the current House of Delegate districts would be the ones on the ballot.

“They would be in place, but it would be voted on probably by November, but there's no way you could set up a election just the last couple of weeks before the November election date,” he said.

It's possible the delegates' seats would be up for election in 2022, and again in 2023. Congressional and state senate election schedules would not be affected.

An important question still is the starting point for the new maps. Commissioners could start from the current legislative districts, with maps drawn by experts or consultants, or they could start from scratch. The legislators and citizens on the commission are going to start doing dry runs with the current mapping software so they’re familiar with it before their 45 days of mapping begins.

The redistricting commission has a new website, www.virginiaredistricting.org.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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