As lawmakers in Richmond battle over district lines, a heavy-hitting bipartisan group of former lawmakers want to change the way the entire process works.
The group includes Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Ward Armstrong. Along with legal experts, they plan to write and propose a new way to redistrict.
Redistricting is no easy task. There’s a lot of maps. A lot of math. And a lot of legal requirements. And it gets even more complicated when you throw partisan politics into the mix, like this current special session.
“We’ve got politicians meeting in secret, drawing maps, and then releasing them a day or so before the session is to meet," Brian Cannon of OneVirginia2021 says. "We can do much better than that.”
OneVirginia2021 has long pushed for nonpartisan redistricting. Their latest effort is to pull together a group of former lawmakers and experts and task them with creating a new process for Virginia.
“We need a process that focuses on keeping communities and allowing them to pick their representatives," says Cannon. "Rather than have the representatives overlay their re-election strategies on top of these maps. Cause that’s the part that actually makes this really complicated.”
The committee hopes to draft a state constitutional amendment by mid-October, in time to have it in front of lawmakers next legislative session.
Similar efforts to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission have failed in recent years.