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Redistricting Commission to Miss Last Deadline; Supreme Court to Choose Special Masters

Democratic consultants' proposal for House of Delegates districts.
Virginia Redistricting Commission
An early proposal by Democratic consultants' for House of Delegates districts.

The Virginia Redistricting Commission will miss its last deadline Monday after not meeting to take up congressional maps, leaving the Supreme Court of Virginia to take over the last task that remained with the commission.

Legislative leadership from both parties submitted nominees for “special masters,” experts that will be chosen by the court to redraw Virginia's political districts after the commission failed to submit maps for any of the maps it was tasked with drawing.

Both parties submitted the same list for both houses on November 1st: Senate and House Democrats submitting three names, and their Republican counterparts submitting a different set of three.

Republicans in the House and Senate nominated an mapping expert and demographer who is based in Virginia, the head of the national GOP’s redistricting operation, and a redistricting expert who appears to have worked on Texas’ new map, according to reporting by the Texas Tribune

Democrats nominated three academics, including the Political Scientist who redrew Virginia congressional and House of Delegates districts after the last round of redistricting.

Democrats also requested a formal briefing schedule so that the legislative leadership can respond and comment on the maps.

The Supreme Court said in a press release that the public and elected officials can comment in written comments via emails sent to redistricting@vacourts.gov.

The Supreme Court could consider the special masters as early as this week, as they are meeting November 8-10th.

Another judicial process around redistricting is ongoing. A lawsuit alleges that last week’s elections were for out of date and unconstitutional districts and that elections should be held again in 2022. A hearing date hasn’t been set yet.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.
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